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Google+ to Use Your Info in Ads
By: Jessica Cherok
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Beginning November 11, Google+ users are going to start helping Google’s ads be more effective. Like it or not, your comments, reviews, and image can all be part of Google ads to your friends.

The Internet giant released an updated version of its Terms of Service last week, allowing it to pull information from Google+ users’ profiles. While the ads won’t be part of regular searches, they will appear on the sites that are part of Google’s Display network. The sites include Google Finance, Gmail, Blogger, and YouTube.

Unlike Facebook’s infamous Sponsored Stories snafu, Google is informing users of the features, as well as giving them an opt-out option. Users are able to opt out of the so-called “shared endorsements.” By unclicking the checkbox in your Google+ account, Google will not show your name, profile photo, or any other personal information as part of the ads.

Another way to insure that your information does not show is to not +1 or leave reviews on any of Google’s sites. Or you could only leave negative reviews, since those will not appear in the ads.

Many people have had strong negative feelings about this form of advertising, feeling as though companies using their personal information without express consent or compensation is unfair. According to the new TOS, the use of Google+ is akin to consent.

For more information on how shared endorsements work, check out Google’s blog post regarding the changes.

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About the Author
Jessica Cherok is an advocate for online privacy, campaigning for ethical data practices and the protection of personal privacy.
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