How to Opt Out of Google’s Plan to Use Your Name and Comments in Ads

New York Times | October 14, 2013

By CLAIRE CAIN MILLER

When Google announced last week that it would change its terms of service to allow it to show people’s social networking activity — like names, photos, ratings, reviews and comments — in ads across more than two million Web sites, it strongly emphasized that users could easily opt out.

Yet for some Google users, the opt-out process was not as easy as Google made it sound.

“Unfortunately, Google has joined Facebook in making it as confusing as possible for people to ‘opt out’ or control how their personal info is used,” Anna Varela, 47, a Web strategist at Georgia State University, wrote in an e-mail that echoed messages I received from other readers. She visited Google’s page for opting out, she wrote, but “found myself unsure if I should tick the opt-out box because it reads like you’re actually opting in.”

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