Imagine turning on the TV one day to find your conversation with a friend about your favorite restaurant used in an advertisement without your permission. You talk to the owner of the restaurant. He points to a sign that says any customer comments can be used in advertising unless you specify otherwise.
Well, Google’s new policy to use the profiles of members of its Google Plus social network to advertise for products they have liked, shared or reviewed isn’t quite that bad.
New Google Plus Ads Sell Profile Info
The policy, which will go into effect Nov. 11, will only allow, say, your review of an album to be shown to friends, family and other connections with whom you generally share.
As the company explains  in its official terms of service update:
Recommendations from people you know can really help. So your friends, family and others may see your Profile name and photo, and content like the reviews you share or the ads you +1’d. This only happens when you take an action (things like +1’ing, commenting or following) – and the only people who see it are the people you’ve chosen to share that content with.
It’s also true that Google gives users what appears to be a fairly easy way to opt out of having them use your profile in ads.
How Google Plus Users Opt Out of Ads
In order to opt out, users must visit  Google’s Shared Endorsements page. Under “Setting: Shared Endorsements in Ads” un-select the checked box that permits Google to use your name and use your profile in ads. Then hit “save.”
The problem is that the company is doing all this without asking first, writes marketing expert and blogger Seth Godin. It’s also without sharing any benefit with users, who are presumably the reason businesses want to advertise with Google Plus in the first place.
As Godin explains  in a recent blog post:
The irony here is that in the long run, what the advertisers are telling companies like Google they want isn’t what is going to build it into an even better company (or even help the advertisers) in the long run.
Do you believe Google is wrong to use Google Plus members’ profiles for ads by default? Would you give Google the right to use your profile in ads?
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