Google Can Now Use Your Name And Face Wherever It Wants

    November 14, 2013
    Chris Crum

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