What Google is actually doing is starting a program where it takes things you’ve “liked” (or +1′ed, or rated) around the web, then uses your name and face in advertisements that show up in other people’s Google search queries. Google’s boilerplate intro:
“Google makes it easy for you to get great recommendations from your friends”
In human being lingo, this means everything you share – from your mother’s eggplant recipes to drunken bachelorette parties – could be made into an advertisement with your face because you’ve ‘liked’ it, theoretically meaning others will love it. It’s in Google’s Terms of Service update.
What Counts as a Shared Endorsement?
Facebook, Google, Twitter, Pinterest - the history of the internet is one of social interaction on a grand scale with little to bridle its forward progress. As each new form of social media takes precedence and eclipses the old ones, it’s up to consumers and marketers to learn the ropes and devise how best to use it for pushing their mission or product. So, when someone (or a bunch of someone’s) decides that it’s time to share their stuff (as you noticed with email), it’s tee-time.
Google is adamant about their TOS update, claiming one could ‘opt out’ of these pictorial advertisements. From what we’re seeing, it’s hardly plausible to completely option out of anything online.
Irrelevancy in a Customer Centric World
The issue with ads is relevancy. Always has been, probably will be until the internet is heavily governed. Those who use AdBlock but have found ads driven by social platforms or recommendations (Facebook) to actually provide worthwhile stuff, kudos to you. However, evasive maneuvers will often come from people who have never clicked a regular banner ad outside of Facebook.
If we continue to opt out of these types social/ad connections then we have no right to complain how ads continue to be annoying/irrelevant. If you’re like myself, this is lunacy as Google is using public reviews you already placed on the internet. And, if you didn’t want them shared, what purpose did it serve you to put them there other than to be shared?
If you spend a lot of time on the Internet, chances are that you've seen advertisements for websites claiming to show mug shots of people who have been arrested. These sites may appear shady, but they do present mug shots, as promised. Will Google pull mug shots next?
In terms of protected images, imagine this: you enter your photographic work into some wild animals photography contest that eventually renders you the winner. Your winning picture is lifted by Google to use as some advertisement. Game over - for someone.
Over the past couple of years, more than a hundred websites have appeared showing mug shots of people who have been arrested, even those who haven't been convicted of any wrongdoing. Imagine if someone shared a mug shot photo that went viral, 20k people liked it and Google slapped it onto an advertisement for jump suits. Doh!