If You Don't Want to Appear in Google Ads, Read This

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Do you have a Google account? Then you'll want to know about a Google practice called "shared endorsements". A previous tip gave a preliminary report on "shared endorsements'' and here is an update.

The recent version (April 14) of the terms of service for a Google account says:

If you have a Google Account, we may display your Profile name, Profile photo, and actions you take on Google or on third-party applications connected to your Google Account (such as +1’s, reviews you write and comments you post) in our Services, including displaying in ads and other commercial contexts.

On another page, Google has this to say:

To ensure that your recommendations reach the people you care about, Google sometimes displays your reviews, recommendations and other relevant activity throughout its products and services. This sometimes includes shopping contexts, like the Google Play music store, and ads. Your profile name and photo may appear with the recommendation.
For example, if you search for “Italian restaurants,” you might see an ad for a nearby restaurant along with your friend’s favorable review. Or, in Google Play, you might see that another friend has +1’d a new song or album.
We call these shared endorsements.

Google also says:

To help your friends and others find cool stuff online, your activity (such as reviews, +1s, follows, shares, etc.) may be used along with your name and photo in commercial or other promotional contexts.

How to opt out of shared endorsements

This is an opt-out feature. If you do nothing, it may apply to you. If you do not want to be in Google ads, you need to go to the setting at this link. Near the bottom of the page is a line "Based upon my activity, Google may show my name and profile photo in shared endorsements that appear in ads." There is a checkbox on the left. Remove the check.

Unfortunately, you might still find yourself endorsing something at the Google Play Store. According to Google, the setting described above is for commercial ads only. They say:

Changing this setting does not impact how your name and photo might look in a shared endorsement that is not in an ad — for example, when you share a music recommendation that is displayed in the Play Store. You can limit the visibility of activity outside of ads by deleting the activity or changing its visibility settings.

In other words, it seems that any comments or endorsements that you make on products in the Play Store will have to be configured individually to ensure privacy.

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This tips section is maintained by Vic Laurie. Vic runs several websites with Windows how-to's, guides, and tutorials, including a site for learning about Windows and the Internet and another with Windows 7 tips.

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Comments

Thank You for this information, I did go to that web link and I was relieved to see there was no check mark there. I would suppose thats due to not joining any circles and all the other stuff they try to throw at you, also, my identity is a complete fake. Everything everywhere I go I have different aliases. Even on windows its an alias. I try to keep private, but I suppose even this is not enough these days.

The WalkingDead

Gawd, old age and imbecility has clearly overwhelmed -- overwhelmed me, I mean, not Vic or anyone else here. I've suddenly realised, I did give in, some time back, and converted one of my gmail accounts into a circular wotsit. Or a plus. I've no idea which.

Google then instantly pestered me to share all my personal information with the world, and so I did. The name on my gmail account was entirely phony, so it was quite easy to proceed from there to disclose my occupation as Chief Prooff Reeder at Twitter.

Equally fictional is my former employment as the unsuccessful General Motors account manager at Facebook: I was sacked when General Motors sacked Facebook as an advertising medium. All very sad.

Google wished to know all about my schooldays so I told it I was educated in a convent alongside Elvis Presley. Various other excruciatingly absurd questions were asked of a personal nature, to all of which I replied readily, comprehensively, and utterly untruthfully.

That plus profile, or circle profile, or wotever it's supposed to be, is still there on Google, because Google's computers are, at the end of the day, like all computers: plain dumb. They've no idea whether you're telling 'em the truth or not. . .

Oh, a quickie: someone somewhere on this thread mentioned that Google required them to give their "real name" when registering for an email account. Eh? Why would anyone do that????

I have many gmail accounts. Not one of 'em is registered in my real name. Not one of 'em has my mobile phone number for Google 'alerts'. As an aside, and thanks to good ol' British Telecom, my IP look-up location is always but always more than 70 miles from where I actually live -- don't ask me why, but there it is. Or rather, somewhere over there, I am.)

Advertisers like GM's media buying agency figured out long since that at least 70% of targeted advertising on social media is a complete waste of time and money because the targets. . . aren't. . . real.

So the more of us who are happily married to an oak tree (my Google plus or circle or wotever profile)and dreaming of retiring to a passing asteroid, the sooner will come the end of days of data harvesting.

All best to all --

Florence Nightnday (my real name: MikeR is merely another pseudonym.)

It seems to me that if you use the image of a pet rock instead of your own photo, and a nickname instead of your real name in Google accounts then whatever they do with that is irrelevant because it can not be related to the real you.

And at the very bottom of the settings page is an option to have the entire Circles account deleted. This does not affect the primary email address associated with that account, just a secondary youtube channel I never used and anything to do with plus-one trickery. (I hope!)

As ever, a much appreciated and thoughtful article. However, early clarification would be even more appreciated as to whether the issue being addressed here is applicable to all holders of Google accounts or only the holders of Google+ accounts. For myself, I only have gmail accounts. I do not have a + account. I am not in any of Google's "circles".

The link given in the article is described as going to a "setting" but in my case, it simply opens a Google page headed:

*"One Account. All of Google. Sign in to continue to Google+."*

Having signed in with my gmail account name and password, I'm taken to another page which says:

*Join Google+ by creating your public profile*.

Obviously, I have no intention of joining Google+ and never will have. In that regard, then, my experience mirrors that of poster mjt328. So-oo . . .

Is the advice given in the article relevant solely to Google+ account holders -- or, if not, should non-Google+ account holders be looking somewhere else? (I've already done all the usual stuff re privacy, advertising, etc etc.)

Try this link https://support.google.com/plus/answer/3403513 and check out "How shared endorsements work" if you're not already a Google+ user.
MikeR amd mjt328, you ask a good question. Personally, I think Google has not made it completely clear what the difference is between a plain Gmail account and a Google account. On this page (https://support.google.com/accounts/answer/76194?hl=en&ref_topic=2373943) Google says, "Here's how Gmail and Google Accounts are related. If you use Gmail, you already have a Google Account, and you can access: Free Google products, including Calendar, Google Groups, Picasa, Web History, and more." On the other hand, if you don't set up a public profile, there seems to be no privacy setting available. It appears that you need a Google+ account to get the privacy setting. Presumably, the type of endorsement that Google may use in ads comes from Google+ members actively clicking the G+ button on items or leaving comments. One reason it is hard to get a handle on what information Google collects and uses is that there are different types of tracking that Google uses. Gmail users have ads that are tailored to them and using Google search may let Google use your search history to tailor ads (discussed in this tip - http://www.techsupportalert.com/content/how-stop-google-keeping-record-e...). But ad-tracking is one thing and quoting you in an ad together with your picture is another. FWIW, here is the Google privacy policy - http://www.google.com/intl/en/policies/privacy/ I stand ready to be corrected but I think users of Gmail alone will not find themselves quoted in Google ads.

Vic: Sincere thanks for this -- and sorry to be a nuisance! I am beginning to think that gmail users aren't going to find themselves dragged into Google's money-making machine. I actually do like using gmail and have long since reconciled myself to the realisation that nothing good in this life is for free. Well, apart from techsupportalert.

I do not use, however, and haven't for many a year, Google as a search engine. No point. Instead, I'm happy with Startpage, or ixquick as it formerly was (I think?) What with No Script and Adblock Plus running in Firefox plus Ghostery for spotting what roving Hubble Telescopes there might be out there in cyberspace,I don't actually see any ads anyway.

I had a Circles account, otherwise known as a Google+ account. I never used it after the initial 'hey there's somthing better than facebook finally!' fadism faded away. So after reading this article, and looking to see what the ad sharing setting was up to I noticed a 'Delete Account' option at the very bottom of the settings page. So that's what I just now did. And there were warnings that all my +Ones will be lost, my secondary Youtube channel would be deleted( the one google insisted I use because it has my real name) and I was also given the option to unfollow anyone else who I may have +one'd or commented to. But my standard email account was not affected. I haven't yet tried logging into my old Youtube account, but I don't really care if that's still around anyways. So I think there is a difference between the Gmail account and the Google+ or Circles account.

There are similar settings for other browsers and some email clients. Also be aware that some of these settings will show-up during program installs unless you install the program using the "Custom" method during the installation process.

Great posting!

Thank you for sharing with us this precaution to be taken on our part.

When I follow the link and log into my Google Account, I'm faced with a page urging me to create a Google+ Public Profile, and it appears I can't get past this page to any other settings until I do so. As I have seen no reason to use Google+ at all before, I'm certainly not going to sign up for it just to change something which is probably irrelevant to me anyway. If I'm not using Google+, I can't +1 anything anyway, as far as I know, so I highly doubt I'll be in any Google ads any time soon. And that suits me just fine.