Google has notified its users about an imminent change to its terms of service: the addition of usernames and profile photos to some parts of its online advertising service starting November 11.
An upside of Google+ against other social networking sites is its ads-free service, and the updated terms will not change it anytime soon. Google+ will maintain a clean, streamlined interface, at least for now, but Google will tie up Google+ to Google Ads, the moneymaking service of the online advertising giant.
Dubbed by Google as shared endorsements, it is an attempt to compete with Facebook Ads. Both industry-leading companies generate most of their revenue from online advertising. For that reason, online marketers have to choose between Facebook social ads and Google search ads, or split their budget for the two advertising platforms.
While the growth of Facebook social ads is staggering, it has yet to cut considerably into the ads revenue of Google. The former announced during its latest quarterly earnings report that 30 percent of its total ad revenue comes from mobile ads, while the latter still dominates the online advertising industry.
The tech industry has taken growing interest in the monetization of mobile products and services, and that includes Google.
In essence, Google is taking a page from Facebook, the world’s largest social network with more than 1.15 billion active users, for its own ads. Google+ competes with Facebook, while Google+ with Google Ads competes with Facebook Ads. Google has more products and services, so it has more online platforms to put its ads on. Facebook only caters to marketers and advertisers through its social networking service, even though the company may decide to return the favor and take a page from Google’s handbook sooner or later.
Here’s what you have to know about Google’s shared endorsements:
1. The content you share is visible only to people you make it accessible to, and shared endorsements will not affect the visibility of your content or activity.
2. To help other people search for interesting content online, your activity along with your name and photo, while signed into your Google account, may be used in promotional contexts.
3. Shared endorsements in ads will allow you to decide whether or not your username and profile photo may help friends look for stuff you love and avoid stuff you do not like.
4. The username and profile photo shown in shared endorsements are the public profile name and photo on Google+.
Here are some examples of Google’s shared endorsements. The “Summertime Spas” screenshot shows a shared endorsement in an ad on Google Search:
To opt out of shared endorsements, leave the “Based upon my activity, Google may show my name and profile photo in shared endorsements that appear in ads.” setting unchecked and save. On November 11, Google will set this setting checked by default, so ensure that you return and uncheck it by then to opt out again if you want to.
The setting allows Google users to limit the use of the username and profile photo in shared endorsements within ads. Google said changing it will not affect how your username and profile photo will appear in a shared endorsement that is not in an ad. You may limit visibility of activities outside of ads by changing the visibility settings or deleting the activity itself.