Beginning today, Google will begin using your name and photo without compensation in product ads based on your web reviews. It obtains your information from your Google+, G-mail, YouTube, or other Google-controlled accounts.
The good news is: you can opt out. (You can even do it from your smart phone.) The bad news is, perhaps less surprising: it’s not easy to figure out how to do so.
This blog post is designed to provide step-by-step instructions, however, to remove some of the guesswork!
Step 1: Sign into your Google or Google-related account.
Step 2: Go to “Privacy & Terms” a/k/a “Privacy” at the bottom of the page.
Step 3: Go to “Terms of Service” then “Updates” then “Summary of Changes.”
Step 4: Find the “Shared Endorsements” section.
Step 5: Scroll all the way to the bottom and click to uncheck the box next to the paragraph that makes it sound as though you are giving Google permission to use your information.
(Ignore the check box if it is already blank. But check back in a week or so to make sure a check does not automatically appear.)
Step 6: Click “Save” and log out.
Update 11-12-2013 at 3:05 p.m.
Several people have written me through social media asking why this matters. It’s a valid question, the answer to which depends on how you feel about the use of your apparent endorsement of products, which endorsement someone else controls.
The following is my reply to one such question and link to another article on the subject:
“By unchecking the box, you will have control over WHICH reviews are shared. Otherwise, Google will decide for you and will use your image and name to sell products at their discretion at any time whether that was your intent or not.
Unlike a review that you can amend later if the product turns out to be garbage, presumably Google will control how long you are associated with the good or service.
Personally, control over the use of my name and image is important to me. If you don’t care, then just go with it!”