Do you have a Google account? Be aware that changes to Google’s Terms of Service, effective on November 11th, allow the company to use your profile photo in Google Shared Endorsement ads.
If you are fond of writing restaurant reviews, your profile photo will be included with the review. If you have a Google+ social networking account and follow certain brands and companies your photo can be used in Google advertising for those companies.
In plain English, this is how Google explains the change:
We’ve made three changes:
- First, clarifying how your Profile name and photo might appear in Google products (including in reviews, advertising and other commercial contexts).
- Second, a reminder to use your mobile devices safely.
- You can control whether your image and name appear in ads via the Shared Endorsements setting.
- Third, details on the importance of keeping your password confidential.
Many of our library customers are expressing privacy and security concerns about their digital footprint on the web. Some are wary of exposing their face and/or name to a billion or more individuals who share social networking accounts such as Google+.
If you don’t mind your Google account profile photo being used in advertising (for which you will receive no remuneration), then you don’t have to do anything.
However, if you’re concerned about the proliferation of facial recognition software on the web and want to keep your image private and secure, continue reading.
First things first. You may want to consider changing your profile photo.
1. Sign into your Google account.
2. Click in the right corner of your account where the profile image is located
3. Hover the cursor over the photo and click Change Photo
4. Upload a photo from your computer’s My Pictures folder or Pictures library
5. If the photo doesn’t completely show your face, Google issues a warning: Are you sure people will recognize you in this photo? There doesn’t seem to be a face in it. This is facial recognition software at work.
Despite the warning about a photo not having a face, it is possible to upload an image that isn’t a face at all.
If you want to retain your profile photo, but don’t want to be included in advertising after November 11th, Google provides a way to opt out of the ads.
1. In your Google or Gmail account, click on your G+ name, for example +Teri in the upper right corner
2. In Google+ hover your cursor over Home; then scroll to the bottom of the menu to locate New Privacy & Terms
3. On the Privacy & Terms page, select the link for Shared Endorsement Setting
4. Scroll to the bottom of the Shared Endorsement page
5. When you opt out of the new Shared Endorsement ads, Google alerts you: your friends will be less likely to benefit from your recommendations
This may be a small price to pay for maintaining control of your image.
If you want a shortcut to opt out of the Shared Endorsement ads, click here.