How to Protect Yourself From Google’s Shared Endorsements

Posted on October 20, 2013

Forget using models or cheesy testimonials, Google now has a better way to coerce your friends and connections: You.

As of November 11, Google will be rolling out its new function Shared Endorsements. The feature makes it possible for your name and Google+ profile photo to appear alongside advertisements and Google product reviews based on your past activity.

Everything from that scathing rant about the terrible Thai place on Google Maps to that half-jokey +1 rating on the Candy Crush Saga app in Google Play is now up for grabs.

Below are some examples of shared endorsements in effect. And yes, that one on the right, that’s a bona fide online advertisement you could be lending your face to:

Shared Endorsements(Image credit: Google)

If you don’t particularly like the idea of being used to promote sponsored links for Google’s benefit, there’s a simple way to turn off the function in your Google+ account.

1) Open the Settings tab in your Google+ account

This is located on the drop-down menu that appears after hovering over the Home button on the left hand side of the screen.

2) Find the Shared Endorsements header

Edit Settings

Hint: you don’t even have to scroll down for this one. It should be right underneath the Who can Hangout with you header. Once you find it, click on the Edit option in blue.

3) Scroll down and uncheck the box

Uncheck Box
That’s right, go down to the very bottom of the page and uncheck the box next to Based on my activity, Google may show my name and profile photo in shared endorsements that appear in ads. Then click the Save button. If the box is already unchecked, click the Save button regardless.

Thankfully, the feature is automatically disabled for those under 18 but you may want to check any personal or professional Google+ pages you might be managing.

photo credit: andercismo via photopin cc

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