A few weeks ago Google announced new Terms of Service which will allow advertisers to gain more access to user’s personal information. Some of which includes their display user names, images and comments made about on any of Google’s sites. This includes Google+ and YouTube. The user’s contribute the information and the advertisers will be rewarded with the ability to produce more relevant ads.
Google is calling this “shared endorsements”, and will go live on November 11, 2013. Although it’s well known that social interactions influence search placement, this continues to directly strengthen the point of it’s importance even in advertisements. It makes sense though, if you’re inquiring about a restaurant and your friends have made positive recommendations about it, then it’s pretty important information. Google also mentioned that for users under the age of 18, their actions won’t appear in ads. Almost the opposite direction of Facebook with regards to them allowing teens to more easily post publicly.
It’s probably best you check your privacy settings, because as of November 11th not only will your +1s be shared, but likely your name as well. There is far more value in real peoples’ recommendations than anonymous Google users.
Google (and many others) have made money off user-generated content for years. This is just another way they do it, and call it “helpful”.