Google to turn users into models

October 12, 2013 11:18 pm | Updated October 13, 2013 02:48 am IST - CHENNAI:

Smile, you are a model now. And you don’t even have to be super. Google on Friday updated its terms of service to include a ‘shared endorsement’ clause, which essentially paves the way for all Google users to star as an endorser for products featured in Google Products page should you “recommend” it. A small hitch here is that a majority of users are not going to easily comprehend what constitutes a “recommendation,” not immediately at least. The policy changes will come into effect on November 11.

In its official page, Google noted: “We want to give you – and your friends and connections – the most useful information. 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.”

What that effectively means is that if you Google +1 a restaurant, or give a review, you will be seen as endorsing that brand by those who are in your Google Circles.

Despite casting the development as a positive move, meant to help users, Google is facing a lot of criticism online for attempting to exploit its millions of subscribers who signed up for its service offerings because it was free of cost. Facebook has already announced a similar feature and the trend of social media driven advertising is catching up with online marketing strategists.

There is a critical dialogue going on in the West on privacy concerns related to such initiatives, in the wake of NSA revelations.

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