Google’s “Shared Endorsements” means your picture is worth $1,000?


You may be accustomed to seeing your picture show up all over Google features from Gmail to their own version of Facebook, Google +. You may not be aware that — unless you opt out — your photo can also show up across the web on Google advertisements starting Nov. 11.

Your photo and endorsement will appear across the spectrum of Google services like Google Play, Maps and on ads that show up in the Google results page. Click on any Google +1 endorsement and you’re an instant Google ad endorser in its shared endorsement feature.

According to the new Google Terms of Service:

“[Y]our friends, family and others may see your Profile name and photo, and content like the reviews you share or the ads you +1’d.”

shared endorsementsWho, exactly, sees your photo on Google ad endorsements? According to Google, “the only people who see it are the people you’ve chosen to share that content with.” To gain control of the process, you need to make specific decisions including, excluding or completely opting out. The new terms of service go into effect on November 11.

And beware of “the others” caveat. The way The New York Times sees it, if you complete a user review for a restaurant, for example, you are allowing the company to show it everywhere that restaurant advertises on the web. Your face will potentially show up wherever that restaurant advertises or on any search results ad, especially when that ad is displayed for someone you know. That’s how Google will be making money off a picture of you. It may not be $1,000 all at once, but those pennies and nickels add up.

According to a USA Today online Tech piece, using private users’ photos in online ads has “become a heated issue” to those who don’t want their identities associated with ads. In December 2012, the photo sharing service Instagram had to backpedal from a proposed update in their photo sharing policy. The policy change caused an uproar among users.

So the best advice is to look before you click and make sure you check your Shared Endorsements settings from your Google account sign-in page.

Editor’s note: At BlogMutt we have this feature called “one-time keywords.” Most posts are written for our general keywords, but customers (including me) can ask for a phrase that will only get used once. I got the notification from Google and wondered what that was all about, and thought that maybe readers of this blog would wonder, too. So, I entered a one-time keyword and a couple of hours later this blog appeared. I tell you, being a BlogMutt customer is like having a magic “Done!” button. If you’d like to try your own blog writing service, get started now! (Here’s explanation of this series of posts.) — Scott

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