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Updated: 11:01 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013 | Posted: 6:00 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013

Opt out of Google's invasion of your privacy

Friends don't let friends become a Google ad

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By Clark Howard

ClarkHoward.com


Google wants to use your image and name in ads without compensating you. That is, unless you complete their simple opt-out procedure.

In the never-ending quest for revenue, the search giant has new terms of service going into effect November 11. And unless you make the right selection, Google will have the right to take your name, photo, and product reviews from your Google+ account and turn them into what they're calling "shared endorsements."

Let me say this first: This only matters if you have a Google+ account. If you only have a Gmail account, but not Google+, this does *not* pertain to you. And if you don't have either and only use Google for search, you can definitely ignore this.

But if you are in the Google+ orbit, Google's new shared endorsements policy means they can serve up custom ads that will go only to people they know to be your friends, family, and colleagues. Those ads will have your picture and words from you coupled with a promotional message for their paying advertisers. (Under the new TOS, those who are under 18 won't have any of their material used in shared endorsements.)

Want to opt out of Google's invasion of your privacy? To its credit, the company is making it very easy for you. You're already opted in as a default, but just a single uncheck will prevent your online life from being fodder for commercial use. Once you're signed into your Google+ account, click here to opt out.

(Editor's note: Since we originally published this story on Oct. 15, it appears that Google has amended the system so you're automatically *opted out.* Now if you want to opt in to the sharing, you will have to click the box.)

For further reading:

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