Did you ever dream of becoming a model or actor? No matter if you have the potential or not, Google will share your face in online ads if you donâ€™t review your Google+ settings. The search giant warned about the privacy change a month ago, and the features will now be available worldwide.
The change also exposes Google+ users to cyber-criminals and social engineers who will now be able to aggregate more public information about peopleâ€™s likes and products, and the services they use.
Just as with Facebookâ€™s Graph Search, journalists and tech specialists already found examples that should make a user worry about his reputation.
â€œYou get a message from a friend: â€˜Hey, didn’t know you were using those adult diapers! Great choice!,â€™â€ Fox News wrote. â€œIt turns out your picture is attached to an ad going out to thousands of people – and you didn’t know a thing about it. You’re mortified to discover that Google + simply culled your likeness and tied it to the ad.â€
Users can disable the option by unchecking the box on the Endorsements setting. The feature was allegedly designed to help usersâ€™ friends find â€œcool stuff online.â€ Activity such as reviews, +1s, follows and shares may now be used along with usersâ€™ names and photo in commercial or â€œother promotional contextsâ€ that Google hasnâ€™t explicitly defined.
Fox News also argued that, if celebrities live off their endorsements, common users should too.
“What are you, chopped liver?â€ tech reporter John R. Quain said. â€œWhy shouldn’t you get something for it? If your endorsement is so valuable to Google, shouldn’t they pay for it? The company could at least toss some Bitcoin your way or a free latte.â€
The technology journalist also argued the new feature is deceptive. Just because users liked a service or a company, it doesn’t mean they would recommend it to millions of people worldwide or that they will endorse the companyâ€™s CEO.
The Shared Endorsements feature expanded the Googleâ€™s â€œ+1â€ program by adding pictures and quotes to a companyâ€™s ad if users followed its services.