Friday, October 18, 2013

Your Face is the New Advertisement (Thanks, Google!)

     I would consider myself an avid user of the internet. Honestly, in this day and age, it's kind of difficult to NOT spend a large amount of time on the internet, especially on social media sites like Facebook and the less-popular Google+. 

     One activity that many people, including myself, do on such sites is recommending products, restaurants, games, and books to friends. However, I would not consider myself a spokesperson through my recommendations of a nice sushi bar I went to last Friday or that cool app I downloaded. Basically, I am just stating my opinion for my friends. I don't think this necessarily calls for the use of my face and my words in advertisements for these things that I mention specifically on Google+, but Google feels differently. Starting next month, Google plans to use Google+ members' profile pictures, statuses, and ratings of products as a form of advertisement across the Google+ community, and I think that's kind of weird.

     I don't really mind that my friends on my social networking site can see the recommendations and ratings that I post along with my picture, because word-of-mouth and talking to other people is usually how I find out about the cool things to do and the fun places to go. What strikes me as unsettling is that this new plan for Google advertising  could make the things I say and my opinions available to people outside of my social circles; in other words, strangers will see my face associated with products, and I feel like that violates my privacy rights. My profile is not supposed to be public information. If I wanted to let the world know how I feel about certain things I use or places that I visit, I would write articles on opinion blogs, write reviews professionally, or try and get on a television commercial.

     Luckily, Google is giving users the chance to opt out of these "endorsement" methods, and I will definitely make sure that I change my settings. Nowadays, no one knows what's safe on the internet anymore, and this is just adding more fuel to the fire.

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