This post, written by activist Adi Kamdar, originally appeared on the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s website on Oct. 17.
Google recently announced an update to its Terms of Service, focused on displaying your profile name and photo next to advertisements and reviews. The new feature, which goes into effect on November 11, is called Shared Endorsements and will allow you to share your recommendations (whether a +1 on Google Play or a restaurant rating on Google Maps) with your connections.
For example, if your friend searches “Indian food” and an advertisement shows up for a local restaurant you’ve rated, your profile picture, name, and review might show up alongside it. Many users will take issue with their likeness used to promote sponsored links without their explicit consent—as Facebook knows all too well. Even more users rightfully have concerns with the fact that old comments posted with one online landscape in mind are now being reused in a completely different manner and placed before a completely different audience.
A crucial component of privacy is control, and being able to control how your information is used is an important user right. Thankfully, Google has made it very simple to opt out of Shared Endorsements. Here’s how:
Step 1: Go To Your Settings
Step 2: Uncheck The Box
Scroll down and make sure the box is unchecked. Once it is unchecked, click “Save.”
That’s it! If you follow these two steps, you’ll have successfully opted out of Google’s Shared Endorsements feature.
(If you have several Google accounts, or if you manage various Google Plus pages, you will need to repeat these steps for each of them.)