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[ NNSquad ] Thoughts on Google's New "Ads Shared Endorsements" Policy

       Thoughts on Google's New "Ads Shared Endorsements" Policy


In what is being widely viewed as a blow against Facebook, Google has
announced a policy change (effective 11 November) permitting Google+
users' +1s, follows, shares, and other social activities to be used as
"shared endorsements" ( http://j.mp/1bj8jvb [Google] ) on ads (name and
G+ profile photo) subject to a number of important constraints (note
that this particular link will not directly resolve unless you're
logged into a Google+ account).  Announcements of this change are
already appearing to Google+ users through a variety of banners,
emails, notifications, and other means.

At this time -- as I currently understand the program -- such
endorsements will only appear on ads displayed on Google sites -- not
third-party sites.

The scope of such endorsed ads' visibility will be limited by the
scope of the original G+ user's social actions -- e.g. only to
circles, or to broader audiences like public if the original actions
were public.

Most importantly, G+ users can not only choose to completely opt-out
of having their profile used for endorsement ads (via a setting at the
page linked above), but users who already have restricted settings may
already be defaulted to non-participation.

This opt-out control appears significantly broader than controls
offered by Facebook (they allow opt-out from explicit ads, but
apparently not from a different form of commercial endorsement
postings) -- Google allows total opt-out.

Whether or not a given Google+ user may wish to participate in this
program will be a personal decision, of course.

I have a quite large Google+ following, and nearly always post
publicly -- so sharing is a very important part of what I find useful
and attractive about Google+.  That said, my personal decision (folks
have already been asking me) is not to participate in this new program
at this time, since I consider my social sharing activities to be more
of "hey, you might find this interesting" posts rather than commercial
endorsements per se (when I wish to make a commercial endorsement, I
do so explicitly).

Other Google+ users are sure to have a wide range of their own views
on this -- as the saying goes, your mileage may vary.  I'm certain
that many users will indeed choose to participate, and that's why
having an explicit control as provided is such a great idea --
individual choice for the win!

In any case, it should be very interesting to see how this plays out
over time. It's clear that social signals are of increasingly
important significance in helping users navigate the enormous environs
of the Web, and we're really very much still in the early stages of
exploring the possibilities.

(Disclaimer: I'm currently a consultant to Google. My postings would
be exactly the same if I weren't.)
 - - -
Lauren Weinstein (lauren@vortex.com): http://www.vortex.com/lauren 
Co-Founder: People For Internet Responsibility: http://www.pfir.org/pfir-info
 - Network Neutrality Squad: http://www.nnsquad.org 
 - PRIVACY Forum: http://www.vortex.com/privacy-info
Member: ACM Committee on Computers and Public Policy
Lauren's Blog: http://lauren.vortex.com
Google+: http://google.com/+LaurenWeinstein 
Twitter: http://twitter.com/laurenweinstein
Tel: +1 (818) 225-2800 / Skype: vortex.com
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