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How to Keep Google from Using Your Face in Ads

An exhaustive guide to taking your face back.
October 14, 2013, 2:40pm

Google is getting ready to utilize Google+ profiles to shill stuff to your acquaintances enhance other users’ experiences, by placing your face and your reviews in ads aimed at your friends. According to a notice the firm posted about the changes to its privacy policy:

Recommendations from people you know can really help. So your friends, family and others may see your Profile name and photo, and content like the reviews you share or the ads you +1’d. This only happens when you take an action (things like +1’ing, commenting or following) – and the only people who see it are the people you’ve chosen to share that content with.

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Given that I see my friends’ faces pop up in invitations to "like" things via Facebook, it doesn’t sound like the most-earthshaking thing in the world—or even something new. Especially if Google is only using reviews that you already wrote of restaurants, shops and products. Why did you bother reviewing them if you didn’t want people to find and read them? Catharsis?

But on the other hand, do you really want your face endorsing the local laundromat? Plus, who has time to sort their Google+ friends into tiers and circles just to make sure your reviews of Rod’s Porn Emporium don’t get back to your bosses at Hobby Lobby?

Look, it doesn’t matter why we don’t want to do it; I don’t remember asking them for this, do you? No? That’s reason enough. Let’s opt out! I’ll talk you through it.

An Exhaustive Guide to Opting Out of This Service:

It’s a little complex, but once you’re logged in to your Google account, go here.

Then scroll down to the bottom and uncheck that single checkbox.

Then, and this is important, press "Save." This is where it gets tricky.

This dialog box is gonna open up and hit you with a sob story. Don’t be fooled! If your friends want your opinion of the bagel store, they can ask you.  You gotta hit "continue."

And that's it.

Google's last big policy change in 2012 is still rippling internet waters. But this one, to Mountain View's credit, is dispensed with fairly easily.