Advertisements Starring ... You

Popular sites are trying to cash in on users' connections

Your friends may be the most effective pitchmen. In the latest sign that technology firms are increasingly deploying users' data to boost ads, Google announced on Oct. 11 that it was changing its terms of service to allow the company to combine users' posts, reviews and profile photos in advertisements beginning next month. Here's how it works: a user searching Google for, say, a date-night restaurant might see text ads promoting a local eatery--along with a friend's face and review on the firm's social network, Google+. A whopping 87% of the search giant's $50 billion in annual revenue comes from advertising,...

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