The Endgame for Google+ Is Turning You into Ads

So this is why Google's been forcing its social network on us.

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All this time Google’s been forcing Google+ on people, and now we know the goal: The search giant wants to create ads out of these users.

Starting November 11, Google will launch a new kind of advertisement, called “shared endorsements,” that ties into users’ Google+ activity. For example, if you review a restaurant on Google+ Local, your name, photo and a snippet of the review could show up when people search for that restaurant. If you give a “+1″ to a product you like, that too could become ad fodder. The comments you make, things you share and entities you follow on Google+ could feed into the ad machine as well.

Google says these shared endorsements will not override your existing privacy settings. So if your comments and +1s are restricted to people in your Circles, they won’t be visible to strangers. But keep in mind that Google+ Local reviews and app reviews are always public. And if you want +1s to be private by default, you’ll need to change your settings.

Give Google credit for one thing, at least: You can opt out. Just go to this page, and uncheck the box at the bottom. (Opting out only applies to shared endorsements in ads, not in other contexts such as music reviews that friends can look at.) Google also says that for users under the age of 18, it won’t associate their names and profiles with shared endorsements in ads.

I’m not exactly outraged with Google in particular, given that other web services engage in similar practices. Facebook creates ads called “sponsored stories,” from its users’ activity, and Twitter shows “promoted tweets” from accounts that your friends are already following, mentioning the relevant friend in every advertised tweet. Neither Facebook nor Twitter allow you to opt out.

The feeling for me is more disappointment at what Google’s efforts have come to–all that time forcing new users to sign up for Google+, demanding a Google+ account to comment on YouTube and requiring real names to review apps and businesses. I once thought Google+ was meant to enhance Google’s existing services, making things easier to share in tightly-controlled ways. But the service has not lived up to its potential, and it turns out the endgame is much shallower.

10 comments
MarkZuk
MarkZuk

get off our backs!!!!

CharlesBoyer
CharlesBoyer

If you don't want to have your information used by the service, don't use the service.  YOU are the product and whatever Google+, Facebook and others offer you free is the enticement for you to allow that.  If you don't like it, don't log in, pure and simple.

gnico72
gnico72

I know what the pros and cons of this is, and it doesn't affect me in a negative way at all. People are quick to over react without finding/ researching the facts. Users of Google+ and those who are curious or not shouldn't only read articles like this, but also read information from the main source to gain a better understanding of what it will really mean for the user, the company and those they connect with on the network. I don't mind the +1's, recommendations. If my friends like the same places I do, who knows, maybe we'll go hang out there together where I might pay and they'll tip. Then after we'll post about it later where those in our circles will comment on the pictures of the places we post and may want to check it out later for themselves if its available in their area. The one thing that is being overlooked by people who overreact is the user has the option to opt in or out. Google is giving the user the option to choose. They are not forcing you into it. The choice is yours whether you want it or not. 

RosaHines12
RosaHines12

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zenmonkey
zenmonkey

if someone from my circles writes a 5 star review for a restaurant and if google shows me that while i am looking at the restaurant on maps, is that unreasonable?

because in essence thats what this boils down to - i don't see some random dude on the internet endorsing a product. its people whole are in my circle who have explicitly endorsed the product.


and if you still don't like that you can always opt out. https://plus.google.com/settings/endorsements


i can't think of more transparent way of launching this feature which lots of people will find useful and those who have concerns can opt out. thats what transparency is all about.

zahraflower1228
zahraflower1228

Totally agree with the author - It really irritates me how google forces us to use google plus now on some things - and then insists on having a 'real name' even tho one was able to sign up for a google account/gmail long ago with a business name or a user handle.  Same with youtube - suck it up google - millions and millions of people didn't sign up for youtube with their 'real names' - so back off. 

The day someone makes a social network with complete user control over privacy, a one click privacy option,  and any name they want - I am fleeing to it. 

chrispy
chrispy

Google isn't turning me into anything. I use DuckDuckGo, Ravetree, and HushMail for most of my needs. I can't believe that people actually use their products.

DeweySayenoff
DeweySayenoff

@zahraflower1228 "real name"???  - laughs for five minutes.

I just signed up for Google+ with "Speed Limit" as my "real name".  I selected "Spud' as my "nickname".  No problems.  No questions.  e-mail works just fine.  I never activated my Google+ account on it, though it keeps trying to get me to.  I use Thunderbird to manage all my e-mail accounts and avoid the Google BS.

And all you need to do to avoid becoming an "ad" is to not +1 anything.  I've never "liked" or "+1'd" a thing in my life.  And my Google account is for BUSINESSES, not my personal friends or family.

It's less about "social networking" than it is thinking ahead and not buying into the "tell us everything so we can suck your wallet dry" BS they try to sell you.

zenmonkey
zenmonkey

@chrispaterson114 because not all people are susceptible to FUD like you. because people like using useful products esp. if they are free. 

why don't you use the faculty of reason and tell us, in a reasonable way, what you have against using google products?


zahraflower1228
zahraflower1228

@DeweySayenoff @zahraflower1228  I didn't say I actually give them my real name. Of course I don't.  However, not long ago google insisted that one of my long time user display names didn't sound like a 'real name' and I had to change it.  I just put 'ia' on the end of it - now it would be something like Speedia Limitia while the email remained the same.  From what I recall - I was trying to upload photos to my personal albums and to use picassa now, you have to sign up for google plus. Man I love google but if it keeps this crap up, I am going to loathe it as much as facebook.