Saturday, October 12, 2013

Privacy, Ads, and Google: A Public Service Announcement

You may have seen this article in the NY Times about a change to the Google Terms of Service and the reasons for it. Google wants to take your +1s and use them in ads, as "personal endorsements." The terms of service change enables Google to do this without your explicit consent for each use.

You can opt any existing Google accounts you have out of this policy and you have some time to do it.

Here's what you do.

1. Log in to your Google account (say, sign in to Gmail).

 2. Click the icon representing you in the upper right-hand corner of the screen. For example, I would click the little photo of Marina Tcherkaskaya that I use for my profile photo:

 3. Click Account.

 4. In the left-hand menu, click Google+.

 5. Find the line Shared Endorsements.

 6. If the value is Off, you're fine - your +1s, etc. will not be used in search ads as endorsements.

 7. If the value is On, click Edit.

 8. Read the explanation, if you care. It includes examples of what this  looks like.

 9. To turn Shared Endorsements off, scroll down to this line:

 10. Uncheck the check box.

 11. Click the blue Save button.


Vajra said...

Thank you, Lisa. Now I can sleep again. ;)

Dave MacD said...

For the record, they are only going to be doing this for things you have *publicly* +1'd. If you only share your +1s with circles, they will still only be visible to those circles.

Anonymous said...

It was only after scratching my head for a while on seeing what was displayed in step 2 in Gmail that I realized that this only applies to people who are members of Google +, and not to everyone who has a Google account. Right? I'm not even sure what this "+1" is; I'm guessing that it's some equivalent to "thumbs up" on Facebook, and is alluded to by those annoyingly cryptic colored buttons I see on many articles, including those on SFCV.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Three things:

1. If you have a user name & password that enable you to sign into Gmail, you have a Google account and you can use it for any Google service (Blogger, Ads, Analytics, Gmail, Google+, etc, etc.). You do not set up an account for the other services.

2. If you have never signed into Google+ or clicked a +1, you won't have the opt-out check box discussed in this posting. (There may be OTHER negative conditions that apply, too: what if a Blogger blog has Google+ commenting enabled, and you comment there? I don't know.)

3. +1 is equivalent to Facebook's "like."

Lisa Hirsch said...

P. S. I verified the above by logging into a Google account I had actually forgotten I had for several years. :)