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Google has just updated their terms of service allowing them to use your Google profile information in their ads. Which is worrying, because who really reads terms and conditions?

The scheme is called “Shared Endorsements” and Google describes it as follows:

To ensure that your recommendations reach the people you care about, Google sometimes displays your reviews, recommendations and other relevant activity throughout its products and services. This sometimes includes shopping contexts, like the Google Play music store, and ads. Your profile name and photo may appear with the recommendation.

For example, if you search for “Italian restaurants”, you might see an ad for a nearby restaurant along with your friend’s favorable review. Or, in Google Play, you might see that another friend has +1’d a new song or album.

But what Google fails to realise is that perhaps you don’t want your “friends” to know that you have +1’d a new song or album. They are going to use your information and your opinions without your permission – unless you opt out.

Yes, that’s right. There is a way to opt out of “Shared Endorsements”. Simply go to this link and scroll down to the bottom of the page. Then uncheck this box and click “Save”. Then you’re out.


And in future, maybe all of us need to consider the possibility of actually reading terms and conditions.

Source: Google via Gizmodo

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  1. Frank Slover
    June 7, 2014 at 1:46 am

    Thanks Mark,
    I've known about this for a while but hadn't gotten around to opting out until the link in your article made it easy to find.

  2. Douglas M
    June 2, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    ...reading terms and conditions... almost impossible things...

  3. Dave P
    May 21, 2014 at 11:21 am

    This isn't anything new, as it's been in operation since November 2013. This is still an important reminder to make sure you're opted out though.

    If you want a more in-depth explanation of Shared Endorsements then check out this article -

    • Mark O'Neill
      May 21, 2014 at 1:44 pm

      The reason why it is news again is because last year, they had to announce that they were planning to do it (the law forced them). Now they are doing it for real.

    • Dave P
      May 21, 2014 at 5:57 pm

      According to the Gizmodo article you linked to it was announced in October and came into force in November.

      As I said though, this is an important article reminding people to opt out. I was just imparting extra information to the commenters who seemed to recall this having been covered previously.

  4. Yodi C
    May 19, 2014 at 4:26 pm

    Thank you for the update on Google's terms and conditions. IMHO, Google is simply copying Facebook's business plan. Why should Zucker-bitch be the only one who gets to pay his bills at the expense of the people who use his services?

  5. Thelma Wickwere
    May 18, 2014 at 10:35 pm

    It seems to only apply to Google Plus, as when I clicked through the link I was taken to a page for signing up on Google Plus, of which I am not a member. Has any one else seen this when the link is clicked through?

  6. Lize S
    May 18, 2014 at 10:08 am

    Mine was off too but I don't think I mind in this case. I've bought apps based on friends' recommendations in the Play store. At the time I thought it was quite useful.

    • B
      May 18, 2014 at 12:18 pm

      ...yes, and I appreciate what porn you watch too merely out of curiosity sake. Very interesting...

    • Lize S
      May 18, 2014 at 12:32 pm

      Wow, that escalated quickly

  7. Swaminathan Venkatesh
    May 17, 2014 at 10:11 pm

    Slow news day huh!

  8. Rick Shortt
    May 17, 2014 at 4:36 pm

    Mine was off too - but as mentioned, it is good to check if you care.

  9. Tom W
    May 17, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    This isn't a new setting. MUO have covered it before, but it's always good to get a reminder.

    • Mac W
      May 18, 2014 at 12:44 pm

      Maybe that why my was off

  10. CJ
    May 17, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    It's off by default. I've asked 4 other people to check and it's off by default for them too.

    • B
      May 18, 2014 at 12:17 pm


    • JonDoe
      May 19, 2014 at 1:21 am

      Mine was on. Tsk Tsk tsk.

    • wafflekater
      May 20, 2014 at 8:13 am

      mine was also unchecked

  11. liesbrah
    May 17, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    I realized this too when I went onto a friends phone my they could see my app reviews. However, This is only for things you've reviewed/+1'd so it's really no big deal.

  12. Gary Petersen
    May 17, 2014 at 2:48 pm

    If that setting is new, then its default when added was for my recommendations NOT to be shared, as the box was unchecked and I hadn't previously set it. It is still worth checking to confirm.

  13. Peter
    May 17, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    Thanks MOU for bringing this to our attention. Got to keep an eye on Google all the time, it's amazing what they sneak in through the backdoor. I understand they need to keep earning money, but they should be upfront & transparent about it. It does not matter what I think, they do their own thing anyway, which is why this kind of heads-up is good!!