Google explained that user names and photos will be used for ‘shared endorsements’, which are small, one-line reviews displayed underneath a specific advert or listing on one of Google’s services.
For example, your friends might see that you rated an album 4 stars on the band’s Google Play page, or the +1 you gave your favorite local bakery could be included in an ad that the bakery runs through Google.
Under the new terms of service, whenever you comment on, follow or +1 a page while logged in with your Google account, that content can then be used alongside relevant ads.
These endorsements will only be visible to the people you originally shared that activity with. Most content will therefore be restricted to a specific circle from Google+, although ratings and reviews posted on Google Play or Google+ Local will be visible to the wider public.
“Feedback from people you know can save you time and improve results for you and your friends across all Google services, including Search, Maps, Play and in advertising,” said Google in a blog post.
“This update to our Terms of Service doesn’t change in any way who you’ve shared things with in the past or your ability to control who you want to share things with in the future.”
Users can control the use of their profile name and photo via the shared endorsements setting. If you turn the setting to “off,” your profile name and photo will not show up on any ads, according to Google. The new terms, which only apply to users aged 18 or over, will come into effect on 11 November 2013.
Facebook already features users’ names and photos in its advertising. For example, if you post that you love Starbucks’ caramel Frappuccino on the coffee chain’s Facebook page, Starbucks could pay Facebook to broadcast your words to all your friends, effectively using you as a product endorser.
Unlike Google, Facebook does not allow its users to opt out of such ads, which it calls sponsored stories, although users can limit how their actions on the social network are used in some other types of advertising.