Google will display the names and profile pictures of its users in advertisements from next month, as it introduces a new policy known as "shared endorsements".
Shared endorsements will see reviews written by real Google users appear as part of paid-for advertisements, which the search firm says could "save you time and improve results for you and your friends across all Google services".
Google explained that shared endorsements would appear when a user sees an advertisement for something one of their Google+ friends has reviewed. "For example, your friends might see that you rated an album 4 stars on the band's Google Play page. And the +1 you gave your favorite local bakery could be included in an ad that the bakery runs through Google," the firm said.
Users can turn off this function by editing their Google preferences, and Google has stated that anybody who has previously disabled similar functions will not appear in ads.
For Google accounts that are created under Google's enterprise Apps products, the administrator of a set of accounts will be able to turn this option on or off, with sub-users then given the choice to appear in ads.
As a company that makes much of its money from advertising, Google's decision to incorporate its users' feedback into ads is not a surprise. It follows in the footsteps of Facebook, which offers similar services to its advertisers. It would appear, however, that Google has taken a softer approach to its new terms and conditions, with users fully briefed on the changes well before they come into effect on 11 November.
Facebook faced user backlash with a lawsuit in 2012, when members found their images were being used in advertisements without permission. The social network shelled out a $20m settlement to the disgruntled users, and has since taken a much more open policy of informing users of changes to terms.
Last week, Facebook informed users that they would no longer be able to hide their profiles from search results in a bid to make searching for user profiles less "broken".
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