Upcoming changes to Google’s terms of service will allow companies to use your name and photo in advertisements, reviews and other commercial contexts if you review, follow or +1 the brand online. The policy that comes into effect on November 11 means Google+ users are now endorsing the businesses they interact with and Google has called these interactions Shared Endorsements.
These endorsements are small, single line reviews that are placed under a specific advertisement.
Google states that they will sometimes use your review, recommendations and activity throughout their products and services to ensure your personal recommendations are reaching those within your network. Furthermore it will add legitimacy to advertisements. Shared Endorsements will only be visible to the people you have selected to share the content with. Therefore most of the content will be restricted to a specific circle.
Google will allow users to opt out through the Shared Endorsements settings, meaning neither your name or photo will appear alongside Google ads. For users under the age of 18, their actions will not appear in the endorsements.
This change in the terms of service raises questions about our right to privacy in the online realm. You can hear white spaces founder and editor Ben Rennie along with Tim Ross and Dr Sophie Lieberman discuss privacy (or our lack of it) this Thursday at MCA on The Rocks for Ideas Shaken and Stirred. Grab your tickets here and the white spaces team will see you there!