Brandon Bailey, San Jose Mercury News
Taking a page from Facebook, Google Inc. said on Friday that it may start showing its users' recommendations and comments in advertising that appears on Google services and millions of other sites across the Web.
The new policy will take effect Nov 11. Google said it will give users the ability to limit or even opt out completely from the ads, and users under the age of 18 will be excluded from the new program.
Google's online rival, Facebook, has long promoted the idea of using "likes" and recommendations from friends as a useful service and a powerful advertising tool. But Facebook has run into criticism and lawsuits over its use of recommendations, with privacy advocates and other critics complaining that the social network's users never intended to have their names or personal endorsements used in advertising campaigns.
Anticipating that criticism, Google took pains on Friday to portray its new policy as user-friendly.
"Feedback from people you know can save you time and improve results for you and your friends across all Google services, including Search, Maps, Play and in advertising," the company said in a statement posted online.