Talking tech since 2003

Google just updated its Terms of Service, the agreement all users must agree to in order to use the service, the updated terms will go into effect as of November 11, 2013.  One of the changes in the terms is that Google can use your name and photo in its ads unless you opt-out.  Google is calling ads with your name and photo in them “shared endorsements,” and they work as such: your friends might see that you rated an album 4 stars on the band’s Google Play page. And the +1 you gave your favorite local bakery could be included in an ad that the bakery runs through Google.

When it comes to shared endorsements in ads, you can control the use of your Profile name and photo via the Shared Endorsements setting. If you turn the setting to “off,” your Profile name and photo will not show up on that ad for your favorite bakery or any other ads. This setting only applies to use in ads, and doesn’t change whether your Profile name or photo may be used in other places such as Google Play.

If you previously told Google that you did not want your +1’s to appear in ads, then of course we’ll continue to respect that choice as a part of this updated setting. For users under 18, their actions won’t appear in shared endorsements in ads and certain other contexts.

Thankfully, Google has made opting out very easy to do, you can find the instructions on how to do just that below.

Head on over to the Shared Endorsements settings page (you must be logged into your Google account) and scroll down to the bottom of the page and uncheck the box that reads, “Based upon my activity, Google may show my name and profile photo in shared endorsements that appear in ads.”  Then click “Save” and you have successfully opted out of the Shared Endorsements feature.


This will keep your name and photo out of Google ads such as the ones seen above in the featured post image.  It’s also worth noting that disabling shared endorsements does not affect star ratings and reviews in the Google Play store — those are still public and accessible to anyone (if you leave them).

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