Google updates its terms of service and users might not just be mere customers anymore but stars of the search engines online advertisements. Let’s find out “Why?”

Google revised its terms of service on Friday and soon internet users might not just be utilizing Google to search for information, but the company might make users the face of adverts.

The ad program called “Shared Endorsements” kicking off on November 11 will make use of an adult’s name, and photo on ads and reviews based on the information pulled from Google Play and Google Plus. The search, for a particular fee, will allow businesses to make use of endorsements and reviews of products and services.

Users as Ad Stars

What will happen on Google is very similar to how people see their friend’s name and face appearing on Facebook’s sponsored ads. The latter’s approach of using familiar names and faces on Sponsored Stories helps build the credibility of the brand and somehow tickle the interest of users. This form of social advertising was started by Facebook where advertisers can pay to use the likes, post, and check-ins made by users in order to boost their brands.

Twitter is also doing a similar thing but on a more toned down style. The microblogging platform has “Promoted Tweets” that businesses can use to promote their brands, but users names aren’t displayed instead show users ads that are also followed–suggesting as trusted– by their connections.

In this new marketing scheme, users aren’t just simply customers, but their data will be used as ads element. Before, when users check out prices of airline tickets and travel destinations, Google will push ads related to these searches to somehow push you to purchase them. Now, when you buy a ticket or book a hotel for Boracay Island in the Philippines and this content can be used to show your name and face next to an online advertisement.

shared endorsements

In a blog about the update to their TOS, Google summarized the changes. The post emphasized, “You can control whether your image and name appear in ads via the Shared Endorsements setting.” Google also reminds users to use their mobile devices safely and to keep their passwords safe.

“We want to give you – and your friends and connections – the most useful information. Recommendations from people you know can really help. So your friends, family and others may see your Profile name and photo, and content like the reviews you share or the ads you +1’d. This only happens when you take an action (things like +1’ing, commenting or following) – and the only people who see it are the people you’ve chosen to share that content with,” the Google blog post explained.

Opting Out

Google gives their users an option to opt out of “Shared Endorsements.” Information of individuals below 18 won’t be used. For adult users who want to opt out can go to Shared Endorsements setting or Ads Settings tool.

The Shared Endorsements setting page explains the ad program and how users can take control of the ads. “If you are under 18, you may see shared endorsements from others, but your own name and profile won’t be paired with shared endorsements in ads and certain other contexts,” it explains.

Scrolling down to the bottom of page, users can uncheck a box next to “Based upon my activity, Google may show my name and profile photo in shared endorsements that appear in ads” and then save to change the setting.

But just like how it is when you try to close an online ad pop up or about to change the channel of a home TV shopping program, there is always the wait-there-is-more trick. When one opts out of the Shared Endorsements, Google throws in a disclaimer, “Your friends will be less likely to benefit from your recommendations.”

What do you think of the new marketing scheme of Google? Will you opt out or will you be the next Google ad star?

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