How to avoid appearing in Google ads

Google(s goog) announced a policy change on Friday that lets the company create sponsored endorsements based on reviews it collects from YouTube, Zagat and other Google-controlled sites. In practice, this means that after November 1 (when the policy goes into effect), you may see yourself appearing in ads like these:

Screen Shot 2013-10-11 at 12.09.32 PM

Some people will be fine with this — after all, if you like (or hate) the product, why not tell the world? And Facebook(s fb) does it too (despite a big legal headache). But others will resent Google turning them into product pitchmen. If you’re in the latter group, THIS LINK will show you a box:

Google endorsement screenshot

Uncheck that box and hit Save and you will see this message:

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If you think your friends will be just fine without your automated endorsements, hit “Continue” and you’re all good. If you want to do it the long way or if THE LINK disappears, you can burrow deep into Google’s settings and do the following:

1) Click on the avatar that appears on the very top right when you’re logged into Gmail, YouTube, Google +, Google Play, etc.

2) A little box will pop up. Click the word “Account” in the box (not the word “Privacy” – go figure)

3) On the list on the left side of the screen, Click Google +

4) Look for the bold letters Shared Endorsements, and click “Edit” to the right of that

5) Scroll down, uncheck the box, hit Save, hit Continue

Image by R. Gino Santa Maria via Shutterstock