Google's Shared Endorsements means that they have changed their rules so they can promote your +1s and shares to your friends - if you are over 18.
With thanks to our friends at Webuseful for pointing out that Google's latest change to their terms of service have quite substantial implications. These come into effect on 11th November.
I had already noted that there were changes to Google's terms of service - I had an email tucked away in the Updates section of my inbox where I was most likely to spot it... NOT!
But, like many others I suspect, I did not bother to delve further until I saw Steve's status update on Facebook.
The Google equivalent of Facebook's Sponsored Stories
These Shared Endorsements are going to be the Google equivalent of Facebook's Sponsored Stories. These are the ads that you see in your news feed preceded by the notification that * number of your friends like this and mentions them by name. It then gives you the chance to like that page or product too.
It is a very successful method of promotion for Facebook and their advertisers. People like to see what their friends have liked. They start to feel 'safe' around that product or service. It encourages them to like it as well - if they have used it. If they have not, then there is an opportunity to check it out.
Facebook do not allow their users to opt out of this use of their names and images. Many feel it is an invasion of privacy.
How the new Google rules will impact YOU
The way that shared endorsements will work on Google is that you will +1 or share a business or product whilst in your Google+ account (as yourself or perhaps using one of your business pages).
Google will then update their Adwords dashboard to allow advertisers to select the option to show the names and faces of people who have shown they like that product or service and who are in the same circle as the person who is viewing.
They will share your endorsement with those who are in your circles and who are interested in that product or service. It will be like a little recommendation from you.
This will apply to promotions on banners or as text ads so your name or picture could appear on either.
How Google explain the rule change
This is how Google explained it in their own post about the change.
We want to give you – and your friends and connections – the most useful information. 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. 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. We call these recommendations shared endorsements and you can learn more about them here.
Can I stop Google from using my name and image to endorse products?
Having said that - unlike Facebook's Sponsored Stories - they are going to allow us the chance to opt out of this. We will be able control how they use our Profile names and photos by turning the 'Shared Endorsements' setting to off. This comes with the caveat that the setting is only off for ads but not in places like Google Play. Not being much of an app user, I'm not sure what the ramifications of that are but it may well be that your likes will remain showing against albums or films.
They go on to say that if you have already told Google that you don't want your +1s to appear in ads - not sure I realised that you could! - they will continue to respect that choice.
How can I switch off Shared Endorsements?
Click here to go to the Google information pages.
Scroll down to the bottom and you will see this.
Uncheck the box!
You will be asked if you are sure - because your friends may lose out as a result!!!
Click continue and your settings will be saved!