Google has announced that it is changing terms to be able to release the identity of its users in its advertising. Beginning Nov. 11, the search giant wants permission to use names, photos and product reviews in advertising that it sells to businesses.
That means the reviews of restaurants, shops and products that are created by users would be fair game. Content, including songs that are purchased in the Google Play store could also be included in ads that are displayed to friends, connections and the public general as they conduct Google searches. These new ad features are being called “shared endorsements.”
As an example, Google may have a user named John Doe. John may write a review detailing his weekend stay at a resort in the Daytona Beach, Fla., area. That resort may decide to advertise with Google. As the ad appears on the screen, a photo of John Doe and his review could appear underneath it, sort of as an endorsement to recommend the resort to his friends and family. What if someone doesn’t want their photos and information shared? They can opt out. Google has some 390 million users who are active each month.
When explaining the changes, Google said, “We want to give you — and your friends and connections — the most useful information. Recommendations from people you know can really help.”
Instead of opting out, if a user wants to limit an endorsement to specific friends or business circles, that restriction will be respected in any ads that use an endorsement, according to the company.
Google’s move follows on the heels of a similar move by social networking site Facebook. Back in August that company said it would show the faces and names of users who clicked “like” for products in ads. Privacy groups were very critical of the proposal and asked the Federal Trade Commission to look into the proposal farther.