You trust your family and friends. How would you feel if a company such as Google or Facebook took advantage of that trust?

Those companies are doing so now. Facebook’s pages show which of your friends “like” the page. If the page is for a product or service, their liking it serves as an endorsement. These endorsements are important: 71 percent of people say their friends and family influence their purchasing decisions, as Alex Cohen reports in his lengthy article.

Cohen explains how Google is using detective work to create a similar system using “+1.” Users will be able to click “+1” near items and paid ads they like. This information will be used to target ads to these customers – and to their contacts. Big Brother Google is watching?