Google Can Now Use Your Name And Face Wherever It Wants

    November 14, 2013
    Chris Crum
    Comments are off for this post.

Remember last month when Google updated its terms of service so that it can use users’ profile names and photos across Google products as it sees fit (like in ads)? Well, that is now in effect.

Are you okay with Google using your name and face across its various products as it sees fit? Will you allow them to include your likeness in their ads? Let us know in the comments.

Google said at the time that the change would go into effect on November 11th, so consider your profile fair game for Google to plaster it wherever it wants to now. You can opt out of having yourself appear in ads, but Google can still use your profile anywhere else in Google products.

“We want to give you – and your friends and connections – the most useful information,” Google said of the changes. “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. On Google, you’re in control of what you share. This update to our Terms of Service doesn’t change in any way who you’ve shared things with in the past or your ability to control who you want to share things with in the future.”

“Feedback from people you know can save you time and improve results for you and your friends across all Google services, including Search, Maps, Play and in advertising,” the company said. “For example, 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.”

Google calls the recommendations “shared endorsements”. You can adjust your settings here.

“If you have a Google Account, we may display your Profile name, Profile photo, and actions you take on Google or on third-party applications connected to your Google Account (such as +1’s, reviews you write and comments you post) in our Services, including displaying in ads and other commercial contexts,” Google says in its terms. “We will respect the choices you make to limit sharing or visibility settings in your Google Account. For example, you can choose your settings so your name and photo do not appear in an ad.”

You can read the full ToS here.

While I’ve not personally seen it yet, the Wall Street Journal reports that some people are seeing a “thin blue strip” across the top of Google products notifying them of the changes. Google did make the changes known to users via Google+ notifications after they were first announced.

The changes prompted U.S. Senator Ed Markey to write to the FTC last month, asking for chairwoman Edith Ramirez to take a look at the terms and make sure they don’t violate Google’s previous agreement related to Google Buzz privacy violations.

A lot of users have expressed concern as well. We got quite a few worried and/or angry comments when we first covered the story. Here are a few examples:

“Like I needed another reason not to use Google+.”

“Once a company removes your choices for opt out them they dont care anymore. Maybe I should change my DOB.”

“I think this is pure invasion of privacy…”

“…please stop turning all the internet into facebook, please…”

“No thanks. I don’t want my personal likes/dislikes etc available to people in my business life. And if one of my friends or family want my opinion on something, they can just ask…”

Do you think Google is overstepping its boundaries with its new terms of service, or are you okay with them? Share your thoughts.

Images: Google

  • http://www.officekitten.co.uk A Morris

    I noticed the G+ profile change – a minor one, but it seemed to be rolled out with no announcement.

    Am I happy with this? Would any sane individual be? I’m not here for them to use my name for some random service I’ve never used. Not on, Google. Stop messing with our brains!

  • http://www.eurodesignbuild.com John Mestyanek

    I think this is great! So now google is handeling a large part of author ranking for me by getting my name out there and in thus doing so all the websites associated with my name get an SEO boost. Not to mention building an online reputation takes time and a lot of hard work. The more info that is posted about you, by you and using your name raises the online rep for that person. Google does not require you to create an account and most g+ users are looking for the mestioned things above, if not go back to Myspace or FB. This is great news. Thanks for the post.

    • IMBack?

      Yea they don’t require a Google+ membership but do you not see the multitude of clever ways they trick damn near every non-savvy internet user into it with pre-checked boxes and specially structured web pages and text? Don’t kid yourself.

    • http://ontariojobswatcher.com OJW

      Why would those sites get a SEO boost? A bunch of links built by the same person – that’s a really great natural looking link profile, and most certainly a big SEO gain…

  • http://www.frontlineweb.biz Mick

    No concerns Whatsoever

    • Michael F

      I know, right? People are like, “Sure, I publicly rated that restaurant on Google+, but I don’t want anyone to know that I did!

      So stupid. People just like to get their panties in a bunch for the sake of feeling important. Let me tell you, folks, there are real invasions of your privacy going on in this country right now, and “shared endorsements” ain’t it.

      • AJ

        Perhaps it isn’t a “real” invasion of privacy, but I want to have control over where my face and profile are used and seen. I am sure you don’t want a mascara commercial to have your face CGI’ed into it (not using the product of course) without your permission.

  • http://www.theofficecentre.ie Alf

    Nice one, it’s getting better and better, already rubbish bins tracking you on the street – what next? bring it on Google..

  • http://www.eurodesignbuild.com John Mestyanek

    Google is doing the work to rais online reputations for individuals while helping them selves. Nothing in life is free, so I think this is great. I hope they use my profile for tons of stuff.

    • IMBack?

      Your love of Google and comment backlink isn’t going to get you high rankings buddy, better get that wallet out and show Google some “real” love. See if you share this opinion a year from now.

  • http://myowndeal.us Gord

    When Google sent that update I actually read it. Then I quit
    all of Googles programs except the mail. I hate Google for their
    “holier than thou” attitude.

  • Concerned

    Google is going downhill FAST, as a useful search engine. Paid results blanket the first page, SEO cheats to raise website rankings are a mandatory part of google now, they pigeonhole businesses into small areas to get them to pay for larger area coverage, and now they use your profile without compensation. What’s next on the crash and burn plan? Selling your info to the highest bidder? Don’t laugh, it’s coming.

    It’s all about the shareholders now, screw the consumers……..

    Bye Bye Google. Good riddance.

    • IMBack?

      Can I just say that I love you for posting this? Spread the word!

    • http://ontariojobswatcher.com OJW

      Welcome to Google, a Made For Adsense search engine…

    • http://www.websiteuk.net Joe

      I couldn’t agree more with this comment

  • http://www.marketsharewebdesign.com/ Kathy

    All for monetary gain. I don’t like the direction that Google is heading. I’m wondering where the class action lawyers are? Don’t we have enough small business that have been erased from the search results to go after them? And now our personal information is fair game too? Where will it end? Who will end it? One of the largest monopolies of all time and it just continues to grow at exponential rates.

    • IMBack?

      You said it. Only a matter of time. I hope they go bankrupt paying out to all their millions of users. They must think they are above the law. Pretty sad when your business model comes down to nothing but profit driven steering of users to your once objective services and sites. They can only grow by obtaining our information, for which they don’t pay but profit immensely from. Obviously they think they are above the law and I guarantee they are breaking plenty of them, technically speaking. They went from asking for your information to demanding it to requiring it to use their services to now pretty much monetizing it as a product and yet most everyone is asleep at the wheel.

  • Draph91

    I’m not happy they are doing that without my permission!

  • http://www.bizwaremagic.com Titus Hoskins

    I am an atheist – I don’t believe in Google.

    Said that awhile back but now Google has become down right scary. Above privacy changes have stopped me from getting my self-titled Google+ URL but that’s nothing compared to the web-connected lie-detecting throat tattoo Google has patented. You just can’t make this stuff up folks… be afraid, be very afraid.

  • http://www.sassyspewtparadise.com Debbie

    It sucks!!!! I want to share what I want to share.

  • http://www.drbukk.com Nancy Albert

    I have been consolidated. I’m no longer able to throw comment bombs, as Google has put my photo and real name on YouTube (since I use Adwords). All kinds of news sites have “lost” my passwords and require setting up new logins with secondary proof of my identity through WordPress, Google, Facebook, etc. I know that the NSA has been behind this for a couple of years. Nowadays, speaking the truth, when it’s not PC, can get your dog poisoned because they know exactly who you are.

  • Info Dave

    Google is a renegade. Working for and behalf of the N-ice S-neeky A-buttholes.

  • M. E. Matthews

    No, I am not. I won’t endorse any product unless I try it first. They’re asking for lawsuits if they do.

  • Debra Ouellette

    No, I don’t agree with what Google is doing. As those in the entertainment and government fields have signed contracts that state that others can’t use these individuals’ names and likenesses without prior permission, so I feel it should be the same for we users of Google. Our rights of privacy and permission should be respected by Google as well. Google should offer a contract of privacy to new users as part of signing up on their website.

  • Scott

    I think that the important thing to keep in mind is that Google is a self-serving profit center. They only do things that they believe will benefit their bottom line. Their users are just a means to an end. They will continue to push the envelope until either users stop using their products or laws change.

  • Sylvia



    there are already enough out there WHO want make masses or people to programmed brain-dead robots !

    there is a true “saying ” : “WHAT you don’t use …you lose ” !


    GOOGLE is BLIND competing with Facebook , I guess here is a “BIG EGO” SOME IN THIS GAME !
    BUT can’t they see that Facebook is already a “SINKING SHIP” ???????

    Facebook is a 2.Titanic ! … and it looks Google love to be the 3. Titanic !!

    Sorry, but anyone with some kind of INTELLIGENCE… would not acting like they do now !

    IS KIND WIRED ! sounds like Google become a Joke … but a SAD ONE !~

    Goggle change your Management quick !!! just a serious Advice !

    Wish everyone a great weekend everywhere !


    PS : People out there don’t be afraid to “open your mind and mouth !


  • Diane

    NO! I don’t like it but don’t know how tom stop it!

  • http://discovering-our-countryside.co.uk Mark Thompson

    the ugly face of capitalism – but multinational companies think they are about the law and allowed to do anything to make money!
    What happened to corporate responsibility and taking a moral stand.

    Here’s a thought google – try this as a USP – ‘no one can goggle your privacy at google!

  • S Moniker

    The sad fact is that most folks don’t understand the implications of all this “sharing of everything” online and what a huge resource this has become for “johnny law” and “big brother” to FREELY invade our lives….much less what a goldmine has been created for criminals to exploit individuals via the internet.

    Those folks who want a FB account to share everything online will CREATE ONE….other folks like Yahoo, Micro and Goog should stick to their core businesses and get their noses out of mine.

    1) get rid of their FREE EMAIL ACCOUNTS ~ these are FREE passes now to allow them into an individual’s lives. (nothing is really free…?is “free email” worth your privacy?
    2) keep the “free” email accounts but change all the details and really screw up all their marketing data
    3) never connect all of your accounts to each other
    4) stop using the big 3 or 4 for search ~ use other less INVASIVE indexes

    Keep your privacy ~ in the end, it’s all we each have that is our own.

  • Cassidy Pruett

    Let them try, i never agreed to that so if they want to get sued out of existence over likeness rights or using my copyrighted pictures without my express written consent, well my purse is open.

  • http://www.bobsims.ws Bob Sims

    Google is guilty of “invasion of privacy” and “false advertisement” and is becoming a monopoly of the internet…..needs to be stopped.

  • Samantha

    I think the idea of Google using my profile and pic is an invasion and downright sickening. I wouldn’t want my pic to show where I don’t want it, otherwise I would have to sue for misuse of my pic and info.

  • http://OpenFreeCheckingAccount.com Ian

    If Google were willing to pay out royalties for using our likeness, then I really don’t think anyone would have an issue with it. Obviously, what they are proposing is purely one-sided, and only they stand to gain. I can’t see anyone being ok with this. We have to start using Bing and other search engines more. Google has become way too powerful and we need to start supporting its competitors if we want to let Google know that we don’t agree with them.

  • The Zombie Whisperer

    Great article. My profile pic will be changed to read:
    “Google, the public face of the NSA!”
    My profile will read like a disclosure of a fictional character. It will contain language like; “All activity, including emails sent and received, posts, likes, and opinions expressed on this or any other website are the opinions of “XXXXXX” and don’t necessarily represent such views, beliefs, or statements of a real person. “XXXXX” is a fiction and may be operated by several natural persons who have agreed to keep, maintain and share the password for “XXXXX” in a collective capacity and consent to use Google products and services without compromising their “personal” data.
    I’ll tweek it a bit more, but you get the idea.

  • Tommy Brown

    I think that Google should be responsible for all my dislikes too then and Google should pay when I am sued over my bad comments too then. Bottom line is this should stop today.

  • http://www.scienceacademy.com Robert Cummings

    I find Google’s freedom to use someones image inappropriate. At this point I don’t care too much because the only image they have is that of my company’s logo.

  • Paul Shaw

    Yes, a big reason to avoid Google and also to take its search results, advertising and stats with a grain of salt. As far as I know Google doesn’t have a profile pic of me and I certainly will not supply one now. And just for the record I do not endorse any Google products, any of its advertisers’ products or any of its subsidiaries’ or associates’ products.

  • http://sel2in.com/ Tushar Kapila

    given that most of us do not want to pay for apps and sites we use on the web, them using us for ads and marketing is a fair trade. its the way to go. at least now some of us will see what our friends like and not only what a marketeer thinks we might (based on keywords)

  • d.packard

    google is trying to become what it always accused Microsoft of trying to become. THE RULER OF THE WORLD

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  • http://DeronandHelensFavorites Helen Morrow

    No we are not ok with google using our name or profile in ads etc.

  • http://www.websiteuk.net Joe

    I only recently started updating my profile with a picture of me (oh my lord). I’ve always been sceptical about google (said the man using google accounts).I have to use google as its all my customer’s seem to know. they virtually refer to google as if it is “The Internet”. They are too afraid not appear on Google for that very reason. I try to explain that Google is actually a MASSIVE private company thats only interests lie in power and money (I think more so in that order). I would refer my customers to Bing but they would not trust it (or Yahoo)and if Bing did become as popular as Google wouldn’t they too then totally abuse their stronghold just as Google do? Its a catch 22 in my opinion. Just start removing and not putting up as much personal information online is all I can think of. Although most people do not understand “The Internet” so they will still fill it with loads of crap as they do on facebook. Many of them really dont seem to get it that if you write something in a open forum then it is visible by others. Weird but true. Any way off to start cleaning up my profiles. Google will not have my image to enhance their already over the top profits.

  • Cindy A. Mulcahey


  • Steven

    I hate the fact that Google is doing this makes me think differently about what phone to buy

  • Gale Williams

    I don’t think google made it clear they intended to do this, I think it is not good.

  • Valerie Senyk


  • Linda

    I opened my Google account and was shocked to see an album of my new home that I shared only with certain friends 4 years ago. Couldn’t figure out how to delete it, so I ended up canceling my entire Google account. I can only hope it’s really gone.

    This new system is downright scary . . . seems they can pick up info on you from anywhere and spread it around. I will not use Google anymore.

  • Linda

    Just cancelled my whole Google account as I could not find any of the opt out settings shown in their help info and the explanations sounded really involved (i.e., “Incognito mode”). This is way out of bounds!
    I’ll miss the search capabilities, but don’t like anybody taking control of my photos, comments, and activities. sure glad I didn’t buy any Google stock.

  • Kathy

    I never got update, and sounds like an invasion of privacy to me. I use Facebook purely as a means to stay in touch with friends and family of my choosing. I really don’t want Facebook deciding what or who shows up in it on my page.

  • ReallySteamed Now

    Am absolutely NOT OK with that under any circumstances ! Even more reason why I will not have a Google “account” or use g-mail. I feel sorry for those who don’t really know the possible impact. And by the way . . . anyone who puts their real DOB on any of these websites is just asking for trouble. NEVER put your DOB on anything on the internet — it’s like handing somebody the keys to the kingdom. Your DOB and SSN are the two pieces of info that should never be publicized on any forum !

  • Elaine

    Under no circumstances whatever do I want my name and profile used for any kind of endorsement.

  • http://google Joyce Ellis

    I do not careto have my profile on ads

  • http://www.jnje.com Jay Jay

    yes I have heard about this.
    For my self I do not use Google / Face Book or others by using my
    own name. It was clear that this was going to move into this type
    of commercial-misuse sooner or later. AND more are going to follow !!
    I do see it going to be a problem for Goggle in the long run. There are
    countries where you cannot force your conditions of use as
    one feel one needs to have them too do business.
    For example
    1- Germany and other EU countries have laws that cover the content
    of contracts where the moral conduct is covered. It is NOT possible to include
    every thing one feels is needed to conduct ones business in a contract or conditions
    of use or sale. Especially if the party setting up the conditions is socially the stronger
    2- if a condition of “one-sided dependency” develops it is even more controlled from the
    outside. (EU)
    This means that a court of law can decide that parts of a contract , condition of use / sale
    can not be upheld and declare that part as immoral.
    Example: EU – Germany dose not have “Street View” Google was not in the position to
    guarantee a certain privacy for private property.
    In addition it was possible to demand from Google to have ones own house “not incl.” in Street View if
    the owner wishes to stay private.
    >> result >> NO Street View in Germany. End of the story.
    EU – England / France have Street View active.
    >Where there is a will there is a way.
    >>On the other hand every one who works in the soft and hard ware business
    knows that there is NOTHING that dose not have a BACK DOOR.
    Knowing this and looking at the latest scandal “Snowdon” that shows us all,.. that it really makes
    NO difference if we keep our ID and personal info hidden away.
    Each country and the citizens need to see to it that things a kept in order.
    USA needs to do there homework.

    Best of luck on that one.
    Jay Jay

  • http://putnamarchitects.com Keith

    No I don’t want to be part of someone else’s add!

  • http://Google Lori

    I do not want to participate in this program!

  • Kathleen

    I am not okay with my image or email being made public w/o my knowledge nor being used for commercial interests whatsoever.



  • http://wassman.com Donna F Wassman

    No, I don’t appreciate google using my information with out contacting me first. It upsets me to think that someone would think of useing any personal info of mine with out asking. How dare them.

    Regards, Donna F Wassman of Homestead Gallery, Inc.

  • http://justsayinmypiece.com Charlie

    I am not overly pleased that Google (or ANYONE, for that matter) seems to think they can use things posted online in their ads…unless they want to pay…even if it’s only nano-pennies. You CAN “opt out”. I’m just sayin’…

  • ellen

    NO. I don’t appreciate Google or any other company or person helping themselves to my name, information or photo. That is ridiculous and invasive. Whatever happened to respecting people’s privacy? What can we do to stop this?

  • Marilyn Auer

    No. Absolutely not. My permission is not given.

  • Rosemary Gremillion

    The idea that I stupidly gave Google my permission to use my face(how would they do this??? I have never uploaded my photo on the internet!) and name across products that Google wants to promote but that I may have significant religious objections(my Catholic beliefs are very important to me) is very disturbing–but, I asked for it. If I just “agreed” by a simple click to obtain access to some website or other without reading the “fine print”, then I asked for it. But I also believe that this is totally disingenuous on the part of Google. As I pointed out on my Facebook page-I saw an episode of “The Twilight Zone” with Rod Serling as a child that never left me. Aliens from outer space came to Earth with a book entitled “How to Serve Man”. After it was too late, the people of Earth learned that the book was in reality a “cookbook”. We should not be blindly trusting these huge corporations. People,(by “people” I mean “we Americans”) have been fed this notion and propaganda that America is really just “the greatest country in the world”. Well, I don’t trust the government of the United States of America. It was so naive of me to click the “agree” button to satisfy my own curiosity with whatever Google was baiting me with.

  • Brian

    If Google didn’t already own half the Internet, I’d stop using them RIGHT NOW due to their claim of ownership of my name & likeness. Gosh, I wonder how they’d react if I had a net-based product and I used the Google logo & name to bolster my advertising?

  • Shirley

    It sucks, and so does Google.

    Do no evil, my hind foot! They were a good outfit till around 2004 when they went public and sold their reputation and soul.

    There are private search engines, people. Even engines that will search Google for you without collecting data about you for themselves or Google. Use them! You can show your displeasure by quitting Google – they provide nothing you can’t get elsewhere. Make their shareholders go broke instead of giving up your privacy – you ‘do’ have choices.

  • http://www.owoodcreationz.com Michael O.

    Hell no. I dont want my name or profile showing on any Google ads without my consent. That is so wrong of Google to enforce this to their users.

  • http://nexxterra.com Paul David

    From the ad examples you have shown, I find that acceptable, restating something I have posted publicly… Facebook however, does this in such a way that they give the impression I endorse a product I may not know or ever like, which I consider misleading at best and fraud at worst.

  • http://google leanne lawrence

    i do not want to participate in this programme

  • http://dominogavin.blogspot.com Gavin Bollard

    Seems to me that this article has it all out of context.

    Google won’t do anything unless you comment on it or +1 it. If that’s the case then you’re choosing to voice an opinion. What’s the point of commenting on something if you don’t want your comment to be seen.

    So then, if you do a search for a google advertised product AND one of your friends has commented or +1’ed it, then the results will come up. Random strangers will not.

  • Chrissie Murray

    Not happy at all, never use facebook or any other site, not interested in this type of communication.

  • Thato

    if there was compensation, i would consider but…

  • General Public

    It is really frustrating to note your privacy is being compromised under one pretext or another by the leading Internet Giants -as if one has a choice here! Not only the ‘Big Brother’ but the ‘Small brother’ is also watching you now! Good luck, mates -least we can do is NOT provide correct personal details like DOB …

  • http://facebook Heather Little

    I prefer to keep my name and face private.

  • http://www.saybrook.com Andy Abels

    I don’t like what they’ve done. They are taking advantage of the premise that most people will not read their notices. For those of us who did not read their notice we rightly incur a little bit of responsibility but a change that significant should not be allowed when the recipient is so passive.

  • Donald Herman

    No I am not interested in my name and place being used arbitrarily across the internet…or anywhere. I am cautious now but with this I will lose complete control. It is just one more tool for those who make counterfit IDs to make thinks with my face on it.

  • Robin


  • John

    With many of the Negative changes, going against the people, I feel that Google is nearing its end of shelf life…..

  • http://newsgaadi.com/category/entertainment/regional/ Latest tollywood news updates

    I am cautious now but with this I will lose complete control my site is newsgaadi

  • Alan

    If Google wants to use my likeness and profile in ads then I want to be compensated for it. As the creator of both my image and profile shouldn’t I be protected by Copyright law? I never agreed to release these items by placing them in the public domain or through a Creative Commons license.

  • Tina

    This is extremely bad – there goes the privacy

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