October 18th 2013
Recently Google announced that it would begin incorporating user account information, including pictures and names, into advertisements. While this may be beneficial for consumers, as it allows them to be on the receiving end of relevant and personalized content, it also introduces some privacy concerns that many people are not too thrilled about.
Want to avoid being included in endorsements that appear in front of your online friends and family? Here are your options:
Option A: Opt out
Very plainly, Google allows you to simply opt out of the service and maintain your requested level of privacy. If you do not want your friends and connections – the only users who are able to see any of your reviews and comments under this new policy – to witness your activity on Google+ and the web in general, you simply need to update your "Shared Endorsements Settings" and uncheck "Based upon my activity, Google may show my name and profile photo in shared endorsements that appear in ads."
According to HubSpot, "It's worth noting that Google providing an opt-out option is pretty solid. Not a lot of behemoths would – or do – offer that type of thing."
Option B: Stop endorsing, reviewing, +1'ing entirely
If you do not want people to see your personal opinions of products, you may simply stop publicly commenting, following or reviewing merchandise on the Internet while signed into Google+. Google says that it will respect an individual's privacy and will only share information that it receives publicly.
Are there any other options? Not really, outside of changing your identity on your Google+ profile completely.
For the most part, Google and other companies will only incorporate personal information into advertisements and other content if doing so will benefit consumers. If big data's impact on privacy is something you would like to learn more about, reach out to a trusted security advisor (like us) to learn more about the steps that can be taken to reduce risk.