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2 New Google Default Settings to Watch Out For

A look at two of Google’s new — and controversial — service changes that recently went into effect.

2 New Google Default Settings to Watch Out For

Many people don’t realize that when they sign up for Gmail, Google also administers them a Google Plus account. It’s easy enough to delete. However, if you don’t, here are two new default setting you should be aware of.

1) Shared endorsements: Earlier this month, Google began a practice of using the Google Account profile names and photos of its consumers in advertisements.

The web giant announced this controversial change was coming back in November. Now it’s in full swing, and any product, restaurant or service you may have +1'd since January 10 may be benefiting from you more than you know. Specifically, your name and photo could appear alongside of it in an advertisement seen by those in your Google Plus circles.

Under Google’s revamped ‘terms of service,’ this power is euphemistically called ‘shared endorsements.’

I’m rather picky about what I recommend on the Internet. In fact, I even bristle a bit when Facebook friends invite me to ‘like’ something of theirs on my wall.

The thought that I may be obliviously doing this on Google Plus is almost enough to convince me to quit social media altogether. Almost…

Luckily, for me and my feeble resolve, there is an easy way to opt out of these shared endorsements. Click here for step by step instructions.

2) Email free-for-all: Also new are some tweaks to sending email through Google Plus. Those with Gmail addresses and Google Plus accounts may begin receiving email from unfamiliar senders.

On the official Gmail blog, Google asks, “Have you ever started typing an email to someone only to realize halfway through the draft that you haven't actually exchanged email addresses?”  Now, that doesn’t matter. If someone is following you on Google Plus, they will be able to directly send you gmail -- unless you change your default settings. Or, as Nathan Ingraham writes on The Verge, “by default — anyone on its social network will be able to send messages to your Gmail inbox.”

This isn’t quite true for anyone. For ‘high profile’ users, those with thousands of people following them, there is a different, more private default setting. Ingraham speculates that “the very fact that Google decided to make some accounts more private is a tacit admission that its new "feature" is rife with the potential for abuse.”

Do you think Google’s new default settings are too invasive? Tell us in the comments or in a blog post.

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