Google today announced an upcoming change to its terms of service that will let the company add profiles’ names and photos to certain parts of its advertising as of November 11. It turns out the feature, called shared endorsements, will impact not just Google+ users, but Page owners as well.
Google today sent out an email titled “An update for Google+ Page Owners and Managers” to Google+ Page owners and managers, letting them know what’s about to happen. In short, Google is claiming the ability to use your Page’s name, photo, and actions (such as +1s, reviews that you write, or comments that you post) next month, unless you choose to opt out.
In the email, Google offers an example of how this might work: “if your Page publicly follows another Page, Google may surface this action with your Page’s name and photo when relevant and helpful to users, including in ads.” Google didn’t share a screenshot for how shared endorsements for Pages would look like, but we would assume most Pages won’t be interested in such activity.
Here’s the full body of the email we received from Google today:
We’re writing to let you know that we will be updating Google’s Terms of Service on 11 November 2013; you can read a summary of the coming changes here. We’ve also added a new setting that gives you more control over where your Page’s name, photo and actions appear on Google and across the web.
We’ve updated Google’s Terms of Service, including changes that apply to Google’s use of your Page’s name, photo and actions.
Google+ is designed to enable your content to be discovered, for example, by surfacing contextually relevant content or actions when they might be of interest to others. We call these recommendations ‘shared endorsements’. The changes to the Terms clarify details about how your Page’s name, photo and relevant activity may appear in shared endorsements. For example, if your Page publicly follows another Page, Google may surface this action with your Page’s name and photo when relevant and helpful to users, including in ads.
You’re in control of what you share on Google. Your Page sharing settings are not affected and, as always, if you’ve shared something with a limited audience, we respect that.
What can I do?
The new Shared Endorsements setting lets you control how your Page’s name, photo and the actions that you take (such as +1s, reviews that you write or comments that you post) may appear in advertising. This setting does not affect other places where your Page’s name and photo may appear. You can access this setting from your Page’s Dashboard and may change it at any time. If you turn the setting off, you may not be able to use certain features until you re-enable it.
The changes to the Terms will take effect as of 11 November 2013. If you do not take any action, the Shared Endorsements setting will be turned on.
Where can I learn more?
To learn more about these updates for Google+ Pages, you can review the updated Google Terms of Service as well as the Google+ Help Centre.
Please also read the updated Google+ Pages Additional Terms of Service.
The Google+ Team
In other words, it looks like both Google+ users and Google+ Page owners that aren’t interested will have to remember to opt out on November 11. Google says the setting “does not affect other places where your Page’s name and photo may appear,” so this is not a universal opt out and Page owners will have to keep an eye out for future changes.
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