Google has made a fortune selling ads. Now it’s trying to put its hundreds of millions of users to work as company pitchmen, using the profiles, pictures and recommendations of ordinary people to endorse products and services across the Web.
After the policy takes effect Nov. 11, users who review a video on YouTube or a restaurant on Zagat.com could see their name, photo and comments show up in ads on any of the 2 million Web sites that are part of the company’s display advertising network.
The controversial practice, announced Friday by Google, is part of an emerging trend on the Internet. Advertisers believe that consumers place enormous value on product endorsements that come from a friend or family member, and growing numbers of Web companies are trying to capture that social advertising in a systematic way.
But critics say tactics that further exploit the data people leave online amount to a bait-and-switch. People signed up for Google’s services because they were free and convenient. They probably never thought their words and identities would be put in front of strangers to sell a product.
Users who casually endorse a product or song on Facebook or Google “may be exposed to unwanted, and possibly misunderstood, implications,” said Eric Goldman, a professor of Internet law at Santa Clara University law school.
Google said the launch of “shared endorsements” will help consumers make better choices. “We want to give you — and your friends and connections — the most useful information. Recommendations from people you know can really help,” the company wrote in its announcement.
It added that users can opt out of the ads and that it will automatically exclude anyone under the age of 18.
The announcement follows a similar advertising feature by Facebook called “sponsored stories,” which turns a recommendation made through the social network’s “like” button into an advertising endorsement on a friend’s Facebook page. The company has said its users cannot opt out of the practice. About 1.2 billion people are on Facebook.
Last month, the Federal Trade Commission said it would review whether Facebook’s push into sponsored stories violated the company’s 2011 privacy settlement with the federal government. That agreement required Facebook to give adequate notice of changes in privacy policies and to make sure users aren’t misled about how their data is being used.
Due to the government shutdown, the FTC said it could not respond to a question on whether its investigators would also examine Google’s new advertising practice.
Google said its new advertising policy would apply only to the 390 million people who have signed up for Google Plus, the company’s social network. The company can also draw on endorsements made with Google’s +1 button, which is similar to Facebook’s “like” button and appears on sites across the Web.
A user who wants to limit the reach of his or her advertising endorsements could adjust settings so that a positive review for, say, a car is shared only with a small circle of friends on Google Plus, the company said.
Some privacy experts commended the way Google is rolling out the feature by giving users a month’s notice of the changes and options to decline.
“Some people may like the fact that their reviews will be promoted and more influential. Others have a pretty easy way to opt out,” said Jules Polonetsky, executive director of the Future of Privacy Forum.
In May 2012, Google agreed to a $22.5 million FTC fine for misrepresenting its tracking practices on the Safari browser used on Apple devices. The settlement included continued supervision of the firm’s disclosures about how it handles users’ data.
Still, some privacy advocates remained skeptical of the search giant.
“This move by Google reflects the growing and unchecked expansion of online data collection by the industry,” said Jeff Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy.
Hayley Tsukayama contributed to this report.
By Cecilia Kang, Published: October 11
Internet rule #1 — If you’re not paying for the “product” — YOU are the product…
Just be something your not, wake up tomorrow morning & your gmail account will all sorts of advertisements linked to the perceived profile, now amgine doing this by a factor of billion, it would be price”less” or useless, I would love to see the day when this happens.
Google has become evil!
That’s why I have switched to a competitor for 90% of my searches.
Duck Duck Go (dot) Com is good for most searches, and if you don’t find what you are looking for, you just click once to convert it into a google search.
PLEASE take one moment right now to check out Duck Duck Go (dot) Com, and click on where it says “search anonymously”.
So what do you think…..?
I do give Google credit for Google Maps, which I believe are the best.
But I avoid putting in the street number, or exact street number if I can – same policy with mapquest.
Is it anybody’s business where you are going? Does Google need to know that you are going to a psychologist, or a strip joint, or an AA meeting, or a marriage counselor, or the food bank, or a physical therapist, or a bankruptcy lawyer, or a new church, or a chiropractor, or a support group, or a fortune teller, or the IRS office etc. etc. ?
Of course NOT!!!
If you liked Duck Duck Go, “you may also like Hushmail”.
The only way companies will consider doing the right thing is, if they start to loose market share, or revenue.
LOL. Just wait until the (soon-to-be-ex) wife sees those “endorsement” ads for the jewlery and the 5-star resort stay that she never remember getting…
Wait until Google/Chrome starts outing every anonymous comment or email. That can only be Phase 2 in the FBing of America. Ouch, that is going to leave a mark. Who can we thank in advance for that round of suffering?
We need a completely new internet. We’ve let this one get completely out of hand. Internet 2 should be free of cookies, porn, popups, and “friends.” It has to be annoynmous above all.
This is what happens when an entity gets this huge and globally dominant…they start to take charge of their users. And unless there’s a big, legal pushback of some kind, users and/or customers have few alternative options so end up having to live with it or bailing completely. I’m starting to think about the latter option, but one wonders what options would exist for all the online services we’ve all become used to in this internet saturated global society. Bottom line is, I’m betting most everyone will be stuck with whatever the huge entities want to do with us and our info. This is getting downright scary!
This is totally wrong. Google and FB try to play it off like wow such a great thing, real people endorsing products. This is why my real name and image is no where on the net. You cannot take peoples identites and photos and use them how YOU see fit Google. You are totally evil and I do not use you for a search engine anymore and I will never use Google plus and other things you are forcing on people and connecting everything together. Google sucks.
Go here, turn if off: https://plus.google.com/settings/endorsements
I really don’t see any incentive given to the user to NOT opt out
This is the biggest bunch of crap that I have seen a company do without approval from the person. Just because I use there service doesn’t mean they should be able to use me in there advertising,
It is kinda sweet… when you are a nobody, nobody cares, but if a nobody becomes a somebody, their real unmolested opinion will matter more than others.
If you frequent YouTube and are registered there under a “nickname”, while trying to leave a comment you likely will be harassed with regularity by pop-ups almost insisting that you change your nickname to your real name. This began happening several months ago. Now we know why.
Just a few thoughts:
I remember Lars Ulrich (“drummer” for Metallica) threw a tantrum about Naspster, is essence that Napster was infringing upon their (intellectual) property. He had valid points, mind you, but handled it poorly without really considering ALL the consequences; as a result DMCA, SOPA and PIPA are a few examples.
With SCOTUS, in their unusual behavior, placating to corporations Pinocchio-complex entitling them with Rights otherwise reserved exclusively for self-evident persons, it would appear that this ‘person’ named Google is well…
what is the Law…
I know there is one, historically significant too…
It says something like involuntary servitude and it’s really not acceptable in society. Then there is this other Law, it mentions ‘effects’, now common sense would dictate, in contemporary times, that personal data et al can be defined as the same as effects.
Now, with the SCOTUS Ruling on corporate personhood, would that mean that my birth and anyone else for that matter, that any assembled data, partically have market value, is my IP, copyrighted material (Birth Certificate). I can charge for this, certianly negociate terms for its use.
It’s cute when companies think that their TOS, EULA etc supersedes Law; it’s pathetic when government allows it to happen. But hey if these imperative Laws don’t exist anymore; let the wild west free market reign come what may and when in Rome do as the Roman do, so goes the phrase.
I have so many cool ideas that I can use Google, Facebook, Apple Microsoft ‘faces’ on so on and so forth.
There was a time when people would vote for a politician just because they met him in person. but not anymore , why ? Because Politicians abused the heck out of it. And now everyone knows it’s just a campaign trick.
These false ads are the same. They will be ignored by everyone. And advertising only to your close circle of friends is the death knell for them. Hey bob , so you really like that brand of soap ? Huh ? What are you talking about ? I never heard of that stuff I just buy what’s cheapest or on sale. Oh ..well ,nevermind.
“Truely Ilove this brand of beer”
insert my latest profile pic , which has me throwing up in the street.
Ah yes, computerized systems and artificial stupidity should not be associated with the human race.
As much as I detest Google’s actions, they can do it. Social media is just that “social.” We abandoned privacy long ago.
This is the part where governments step in and say “No You Can’t Do that, and we don’t care if you strong armed your users into agreeing”
“Celebrities” fight bitter court battles to protect their right to own their own image and words. Yet Google now believes it’s acceptable to purloin its users’ images and words for the company’s own profit? Really?! I didn’t know about this before, but just disabled this unwanted feature on my Google account. They will find that as fast as their fortunes rose, they can come crashing down just as quickly and with a loud thud. As the saying goes, “The bigger they are, the harder they fall.” Stop assuming people don’t value their private conversations with friends just because they are conducted online.
The default – at least for now – seems to be “OFF”
This will later change to “ON”
And later still change to “OPTION MISSING-YOU HAVE NO CHOICE”
When this happens, my gmail account and my Facebook page are disappearing. Maybe Google and the NSA are really the same!!!!
Google and Facebook (and every USA based corperation) are required by law to hand over all data they collect to the USA Government. (The whole NSA / PRISM thing that exploded this summer…where have you been sleeping the last six months ? )
No they are not. At minimum, the government has to provide a National Security Letter. Developers at Google were quite upset at the NSA/PRISM flap this summer, and are doing everything they can to resist such requests, and to make snooping as difficult as possible.
They will not have a real picture from me. Just a name.
I opted out of both Google and Face Book because of their intrusive privacy changes. It is best to remove your children and their pictures from any sight possible before they trample your children’s future privacy. Face Book now has the right to legally sift your private phone contacts and use them as (people you may know) connection information.
We are too immature to use the technology we now have the ability to create and this is always a recipe for a crushing disaster.
I tried deleting a Gmail account and had to provide a forwarding email address, so I just keep Gmail as a throwaway account. It really sucks with tons of spam.
I have been using Gmail for about 4 years, and I almost never receive any spam, perhaps once a month something slips through, I mark it, and Google updates their filtering. I also use (free) ad blocking software to suppress Gmail ads. Of all the email systems I have used over the past 30 years, Gmail is, by far, the best.
Resist. Just don’t ever review anything. Kill their “Golden Goose”.
At last, “full faith and credit” of on line reviews.
People signed up for Google’s services because they were free and convenient. They probably never thought <<<< Key words. "never thought". * Whatever happened to the laws in this country that make it illegal for someone to appropriate one's identity or image for commercial money-making purposes without a person's explicit permission? Those laws should be just as valid for Internet use as for other media. What's the difference and why aren't those laws being enforced? * Welcome to Mr. Obama’s transparency laws. As he said he wanted to make the government transparent, he meant he was aiming to make the public transparent because as we know, public information does not need a court order to investigate and snoop. This will take the step of asking the courts for permission to sift internet information away from the NSA. In short terms, just like Russia, privacy is not in the best interest of the common good of the nation. Welcome to Communism! And you didn’t even know it was transferring. * Oh, get off it. Mr. Obama is not the cause of everything you disdain, even if you and your lot seem to think he is the boogeyman who "explains it all" where it comes to justifying your paranoia. * Whatever happened to those days? YOU signed them away. YOU agreed to the terms of using their social media. YOU signed away your privacy, because your need for social media was greater than your need to understand to what it was you were agreeing. YOU made it happen, so don't point a finger at anyone but your uninformed self... * Apparently neither of you remember when the internet was nothing more than a phone call over the phone lines. Privacy was treated as a phone call concerning privacy laws. You seem to believe that this intrusive information gathering has been around as long as the internet its self. When I signed on for a Google account, sharing information that was considered private, was not an issue. They could gather the information but assured the account holder that it would not be distributed for profit. No! you kids are too young to remember reading these End User rules. I can assure you that they were there. And now they are moving away from those ethical obligations and this is the reason they must inform you of this change in security. Once again for you kids to understand, I do not blame Mr. Obama for everything. I do on the other hand blame him for continuing what was already bad, created out of the Patriot Act even worse by not showing restraint. Mr. Obama is no better that Mr. Bush when it comes to incompetence and a lack of concern for public privacy. * Only last week Facebook was moderately inconvenienced when it was found that the image of a dead teenager who had killed herself in Canada was now promoting a dating site. * So much for commenting or uploading anything to a Google property. * Seig Heil to google and their goose stepping acquiescence with the federal government. So much for 'doing no evil'. We all know they're lying. What adds insult to injury is they (google) receive our own hard earned federal tax dollars to hand over user info to the government. Tax payers are paying to be spied upon and the American sheeple do nothing. * Just wait until the algorithm glitches and the bot that searches comment fields captures a DEROGATORY remark cabout a product. The generated ad will say: Mr. Jones had this to say about our wonderful resaurant "That is the worst tasting crap a$$ food I've ever tasted!". So as you can see if this one patron loved the food this much, I'm sure you will too! * My Google photo is a picture of a Concord stage coach built for Wells Fargo & Co. I sure Wells Fargo & Co would love the free advertising. Idiots... * This isn't how you get people to use google+ You shouldn't force people to create google+ profiles either just to comment or upload videos to youtube. Google privacy invasion continues. In todays world if you want to be on a platform that has any popularity, you have to bend over and grab the ankles. Money is the name of the game. And everyone is maximizing income. Who the !@#$ care about happiness or goodwill!??? * will they publish the fact that i don't like their new policy? * The simple solution is to not review any videos on YouTube nor restaurants on Zagat ... * "Can I write a raving review exposing what a thief of content, intellectual property, and influence Google really is?" * I guess I will no longer be commenting on restaurants, movies or anything else for that matter again. Signing off, AverageJoe * Leave only negative reviews. No one will want to advertise those... * Time to change your avatar to something that they won't want to associate with the product. * You've been "Scroogled". * It all depends on how you define "evil". * Ehhh ... [he shrugs]. I don't see any major issues here (a few minor ones). You don't have to use the Google service(s), you don't have to post product reviews, you don't have to use your real photo (I don't on Facebook), and even if you do ALL of those things, you can still opt out of this feature. Opt in would be a better protection of privacy, but few businesses use that approach, for good reason. It is no more an invasion of privacy than someone quoting your letter to the editor, or this comment, except of course you don't endorse products in letters to the editor (NOTE: this comment cannot be construed as a favorable review of Google ) . A general rule of thumb is: if you don't want it public, don't say/put it on the internet. Like this comment, which I am typing on a Washington Post page which is displaying an ad for a brand of oatmeal I did a Google search on a few weeks ago (and have been seeing ads for ever since) - apparently the Post also subscribes to Google's commercial services. A final comment: Google is a really valuable service for many of us, which is free (like a lot of other things on the internet). It isn't cheap to run massive server farms, let alone all the other infrastructure needed. Google is not taxpayer funded or subsidized. How exactly is Google supposed to stay in business? * How are you supposed to keep your stock price rising at 872 USD? Like · "Opt-Out" is the new dirtiest phrase in my opinion. Making it so without our "Opting-In" to begin with is playing dirty pool and makes me want to dump them from my online activities. What a stupid move on their part! * As long as the default is "don't use anything of mine unless I tell you I can and you pay me for it", sure. Oh, that's not going to be the default? Then Hell no!!! * And here I thought that people got paid when they endorsed products! * And the worst endorsement is to Viagra or similar drug ads. You know why. * If a person endorses Obamacare ad, half of the country will become his enemy and everyone knows his face. * “We want to give you — and your friends and connections — the most useful information." No, what Google really means to say is "we own you, and we will exploit you in any way that makes money for us." Certainly Google is entitled to make a profit, but not when it misleads its users. * Scenario in the year 2030: Child to Mother: Mom, what's "privacy" mean? Mother to Child: Honey, I have no idea. Just eat your cereal... * Just eat your cereal... After all, your photo is on the box! * It's probably time to stop using google and gmail and others who care little about their users. It was fun for a while you guys and you my think you rule the world. Well, you don't rule my world. * Can we finally stop pretending that people who don't use social media regularly are strange? People act like if you don't have a facebook account something is wrong with you (or are just angry they can't stalk you). * Internet rule 1 — If you're not paying for the "product" — YOU are the product... * Just be something your not, wake up tomorrow morning & your gmail account will all sorts of advertisements linked to the perceived profile, now amgine doing this by a factor of billion, it would be price"less" or useless, I would love to see the day when this happens. * Google has become evil! That's why I have switched to a competitor for 90% of my searches. Duck Duck Go (dot) Com is good for most searches, and if you don't find what you are looking for, you just click once to convert it into a google search. PLEASE take one moment right now to check out Duck Duck Go (dot) Com, and click on where it says "search anonymously". So what do you think.....? I do give Google credit for Google Maps, which I believe are the best. But I avoid putting in the street number, or exact street number if I can - same policy with mapquest. Is it anybody's business where you are going? Does Google need to know that you are going to a psychologist, or a strip joint, or an AA meeting, or a marriage counselor, or the food bank, or a physical therapist, or a bankruptcy lawyer, or a new church, or a chiropractor, or a support group, or a fortune teller, or the IRS office etc. etc. ? Of course NOT!!! If you liked Duck Duck Go, "you may also like Hushmail". The only way companies will consider doing the right thing is, if they start to loose market share, or revenue. SOURCE: [ washingtonpost.com/business/technology/ ]
Google is Evil? According to Joseph Farah
In the book Stop the Presses!, Joseph Farah calls Google evil. He gives a very detailed description of why he believes Google is evil and has tried to pursue his views through many sources. Farah discusses some of his main topics, including Google’s deal with China and banner ads. For more details from Kara Ratliff, keep watching WebProNews.