Google has announced changes to its Terms of Service today that will take effect next month. The company says it made three changes to the Terms, the biggest one being that your Google+ profile name and photo “might appear in Google products (including in reviews, advertising and other commercial contexts).” Google is calling this feature Shared Endorsements, and if it seems as if this new “feature” is completely crazy, that’s because it kind of is.
Essentially, this will give Google the right to slap your name and profile photo next to an ad of a product or service that you “like,” or “+1” in Google’s terms. For example, if you rated a movie in the Google Play store, other people will be able to see your name and photo next to your rating, and it would also show up in ads for local businesses that you’ve +1’d on Google+.
Shared Endorsements will look similar to what you see below. Google provides this as an example, but it could be for any number of products, services or ads that Google deals out.
Disabling Shared Endorsements
Thankfully, Google actually tells you how to disable or enable Shared Endorsements, but not without hiding the steps behind a few web pages that you have to navigate through first. Also thankfully, the feature should be disabled by default, but if it isn’t, here’s how to disable it yourself.
Log into your Google+ account and head to this webpage. Here, you can read more about what Shared Endorsements are, and toward the bottom there’s a checkmark that will allow you to enable or disable the feature, saying that “based upon my activity, Google may show my name and profile photo in shared endorsements that appear in ads.” Make sure it’s unchecked and then click Save. Even if it’s unchecked when you first get there, click Save just to make sure that it’s completely good to go.
It also might be a good idea to put a reminder on your calendar for November 11, when the changes are scheduled to officially take effect; the feature isn’t active now (which is probably why it’s disabled by default), so once it does go live, be sure to head back into the settings just to make sure that Google didn’t automatically flip the switch on you.