Google to introduce shared endorsements

Search engine wants to share your recommendations with friends

Google has updated its terms of service to allow it to show your friends what you have been endorsing during your searches.

Those who use any of Google's social features, such as Google+, Play and Maps reviews, will see their reviews potentially appear in a friend's search from 11 November.

In a brief overview of its terms of service update , Google said: "We want to give you, and your friends and connections, the most useful information. Recommendations from people that you know can really help."

It was also quick to point out that those who wished to opt out could do so by ticking a box in their settings, while those who have already expressed a desire not to see their +1s appear in advertising will continue to have that preference upheld. Users aged under 18 will also not see their information shared.

However, this has not stopped some from protesting against the change, with many users making changes to their Google+ profile in response.

It is not the first time Google has faced a backlash on privacy. As recently as June, the Information Commissioner's Office penalised the company for inadvertently taking users' personal data as it collected images for Street View.

New system bears similarities to Facebook's 'sponsored stories'

These new 'shared endorsements' share many features with Facebook's 'sponsored stories', which were introduced by the social network in 2011.

This feature meant that if you 'liked' something on Facebook, your friends could see your name attached to adverts associated with that brand.

Users reacted with fury to this change, and Facebook eventually reached a class action settlement with 614,000 profile holders for a combined $20 million. Despite this, it still made $200 million from the scheme.

Natalie Booth, head of search at theEword, said: "Historically, Google users have not responded well to their information being displayed without their permission, so perhaps it is the automatic opt-in that is causing concern here. However, it seems very simple to withdraw your details from this scheme, and of course there will be some who actually find it useful."