Last week, Google announced it'd be using users' pictures (age 18+ only) in its advertisements, starting November 11, 2013.
Oh, and it's not just your face -- it's also your name, reviews, recommendations, and endorsements.
This news came out via a change to the company's Terms of Service. Google cited the change as an attempt to help provide more personalized, relevant ad data.
Look, I'm all for personalization and relevancy ... but really? While Google sent an email to users communicating the update, I have a feeling there is still going to be a significant swath of the population that still has no idea their names, faces, and words could be used in advertisements -- after all, people delete emails these days like its their job.
If you're curious what the ads will look like, here's a sneak peek of a few different types of ads that make use of user endorsements:
If this sounds like a total nightmare for you, there's some recourse. Here's what you can do if you don't want your personal information used for Google ads.
How to Prevent Your Personal Information From Appearing in Google Ads
1) Use the Google provided opt-out.
You can find the opt-out page here, or opt out in your Google+ account.
2) You can stop interacting with things on Google+.
By interacting, we mean commenting, following, sharing, reviewing, or +1'ing things.
3) Change your Google+ public name and photo.
This is kind of a workaround -- the above tactics are ones, ahem, "endorsed" by Google+ -- while this is a bit of a hack. If you'd like to continue interacting with things, and/or you're worried about whether the opt-out will always work (I get it, I'm a paranoid person, too), you could simply change your Google+ name and photo. This is what Google will be pulling from for their ads, so it's a nice little workaround.
It's worth noting that Google providing an opt-out option is pretty solid. Not a lot of behemoths would -- or do -- offer that type of thing.
If you're concerned about privacy, this should help you feel more comfortable existing in the digital world without retreating into a hole and signing off from the internet for good. You know. Balance.
Image credit: YAXZONE