Google announces 'Shared Endorsements' feature similar to Facebook's Sponsored Stories

Google has announced a ‘Shared Endorsements’ feature – similar to Facebook’s Sponsored Stories – which will utilise users’ names and profile pictures in adverts.

The tech giant said the endorsements would range from Google Play store recommendations to adverts for restaurants, but said users did have an opt-out option in their account settings.

A statement from Google said: “To ensure that your recommendations reach the people you care about, Google sometimes displays your reviews, recommendations and other relevant activity throughout its products and services.

“This sometimes includes shopping contexts, like the Google Play music story, and ads. Your profile name and photo may appear with the recommendation.

“Don’t worry, your account’s privacy settings are not affected,” the statement continued. “You get to decide whether you want your name and photo included in shared endorsements that appear in ads through the Shared Endorsements setting. And for users under 18, their actions won’t appear in Shared Endorsements in ads and certain other contexts.”

The news follows an announcement from Facebook that its Sponsored Stories feature will be scrapped in April after the social network found itself in the middle of privacy fears.

In August, Facebook agreed to pay our $20m (£13m) in compensation following a court battle over the Sponsored Stories scheme. The social network had been offering the service to advertisers without first seeking permission from users to use their information in an ad context.

However, Facebook does intend to launch a similar service after Sponsored Stories is axed, which will give advertisers a similar service “providing that it is not the main focus of the ad”.

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