A New York Times article yesterday by Claire Cain Miller & Vindu Goel, "Google to Sell Users' Endorsements," doesn't do a good job of clarifying how pervasive these endorsements will be outside of Google Plus, its Facebook imitation:
Still, the biggest Internet companies are pushing in the other direction, toward an expectation that more information is shown publicly. Google’s announcement came in an update to its terms of service that allows the company to include in ads adult users’ profile information and preferences, ratings and posts they have made on Google Plus and other Google services like search and YouTube.
"Other Google services like search?" Doesn't that pretty much make the whole internet fair game for endorsements, since the Googlebot crawls every site?
But not to worry. Eventually you'll be able to wall off your privacy one word or phrase at a time:
Facebook said the best way for users to protect their privacy was to adjust the settings for their profile and each individual post they make.
One way might be to have metadata "watermarks" appended to every word you type, so if you say "excellent" it doesn't end up next to a lawn mower.
My experience with these endorsements was YouTube's short-lived blog trackback feature. YouTubes I linked to were actually getting a little badge that said "As Seen On Tom Moody" with a link to my blog. It didn't last long: I suspected human review uncovered that these badges were (i) going to a non-Google-hosted site and (ii) didn't embed the videos, just linked to them. Or determined that the plug was too damned inauspicious. So we can probably add these upcoming endorsements to the host of minor irritations of the web that come and go: the jock itch of modern communication.