On Friday Google altered its Terms of Service to give itself permission to take users' Google+ profile names and pictures and use them in advertisements for Google products, reviews and other commercial offerings.
According to InformationWeek, the company now grants itself permission to use all of this personal information by default. However, people aren't completely without resources to maintain their privacy. All users have the ability to opt out of appearing in any advertisements or PR campaigns for Google through its new Shared Endorsements in Ads setting.
According to the report, the company will attempt to discourage users from revoking the permission to use their Google+ profile information by displaying a message when the box is deselected that reads: "Are you sure? When you disable this setting, your friends will be less likely to benefit from your recommendations."
The opt-out option is even still limited in scope from there. Google will still employ users' names and photos in Shared Endorsements related reviews, +1, follows and other promotional services.
InformationWeek points out that this is a move that closely mirrors Facebook's recent policy to do pretty much the same thing with its users information. However, Google has one important difference and that is the option to elect not to allow the company to do this. Facebook has been forced to push back the release of this new policy after outrage from privacy groups demanded that changes be made to protect existing users' privacy concerns. Many believed that Facebook was violating its 2011 agreement with the Federal Trade Commission by failing to give users a say in the matter. The agreement stipulated that Facebook had to obtain consent from users before making policy changes. It's unclear if Google will be held to the same standards or if its ability to let users opt out of the change will suffice.
Tell us what you think about this new privacy issue. Should you have a say in what information the company can use or should they have free reign over anything you elect to post on their site? Comment and share your opinions below. In the meantime, if you're worried about Google using your information you can learn how to opt out HERE.