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Google+ Introduces Controversial Privacy Changes

Submitted by on October 13, 2013 – 9:32 am3 Comments
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Google announced this week that users of the social network Google+ could find their pictures, names, comments, and ratings in advertisements without their explicit consent. Facebook already has such a widely-used setup, but the move has still been met with criticism.

In an updated Terms of Service, Google said it would begin using this data across the web on Nov. 11. No concrete plans exist yet, but the company wants the ability to produce such sponsored, targeted ads.

Though only around 300 million people use Google+ (compared to over 1 billion on Facebook), Google ads are viewed by an estimated 1 billion across the web.

Google’s ads might be similar to the ones Facebook already has in place. On Facebook, advertisers can pay to highlight a user who likes, rates, or mentions their service or product. That endorsement can then be placed highly in the newsfeed of the person’s connections.

Facebook also recently eliminated the ability make a profile invisible from searches. The social networking giant said this option was not often used, that invisible profiles could still be found in other ways, and that users should just adjust their privacy settings and the settings on each individual post.

Facebook is not offering a way to opt out, but apparently, users can opt out of Google’s program with just a single click. Also, users under 18 will be automatically excluded.

Despite these features, the backlash has already begun. Some Google+ users are getting “Schmidt-faced,” changing their profile picture to an image of Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt. Presumably, Schmidt’s image when then be used in ads across the web.

What do you think of the changes?

[via NY Times]

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