If it isn’t clear to you already, Google makes money with ads they show you when you are using their free services. They make a targeted ad profile around the searches you perform, the contents of the emails you send and receive, and the videos you like, etc. Advertisers get options to target their ad campaigns based on the data Google gathers from your usage of their apps across platforms. It’s a case of “When the service you’re using is free, YOU are the product” – where ‘you’ means the data you generate.
Now, Google is trying something slightly different with their ads. Using your Google+ profile and the reviews you’ve left on things like apps, books, movies, restaurants using said profile, Google will display personal endorsements from you on Search result pages to the rest of its users, where appropriate. This will certainly make search results more ‘human’, making the decision of clicking on them that much easier.
Google has been really open about this new type of advertisement. They’ve been notifying people via Google+ notifications as well as through dedicated messages above the Google navigation bar that is visible when you’re using Search.
There is a very easy way to opt out of Shared Endorsements. Simply head on over to this page on Google+, read through what Google has to say, then simply uncheck the checkbox at the bottom and click ‘Save’ to disable shared endorsements.
You should understand that even if you do disable Shared Endorsements in Ads, your publicly published comments on apps, music, places of interest on Google Maps etc. will still be visible on their respective pages because, well, you reviewed them publicly. Furthermore, you will see Shared Endorsements from other people but not vice versa.
If you want to truly maintain online privacy, you’ll have to cease publicly reviewing media, entertainment and places of interest. Props to Google for openly discussing their updated terms of services, and for providing users with the option to opt-out of Shared Endorsements with a couple of clicks. It’s not like the nightmare that Facebook Privacy Settings once were.
I don’t have any memory of reviewing things using my Google+ profile, so I’m going to let this slide and keep the default settings. What about you? When was the last time you reviewed something using your Google+ profile? Sound off in the comments section below.