Google settles Buzz lawsuit for $8.5m
Google has agreed to make a substantial payout in order to settle a class-action lawsuit bought by disgruntled users of its Buzz social network.
The estimated $8.5m (€6.7bn) payout will settle a legal dispute with several users of Google’s web-based email service Gmail.
They claimed that Google Buzz, a social-networking app found within Gmail, violated their personal privacy.
Buzz, which was launched in February, created social networks based around people’s email contacts, but users complained they had little control over who they were connected to, and with whom their Buzz contact information was shared.
One user complained that her contact details had been inadvertently shared with her “abusive” ex-husband.
Google subsequently made an “opt-in” service, and introduced new controls that made it easier for users to decide who they shared their information with.
Gmail users bought a class-action lawsuit against the search giant, arguing that Buzz infringed their personal privacy.
Google has agreed to a payout to settle the dispute. Around 30pc of the lump sum will be used to pay legal fees associated with the case, while the seven Gmail users named on the lawsuit will each receive $2,500 (€2000). The remaining funds will shared among groups and organisations that campaign for greater online privacy.
“We’re satisfied with the agreement and are glad to move forward,” said Google in a statement.
“We have always been committed to offering users transparency and choice in Buzz and all our products, and will continue to work together with users to provide the best user experience possible.
“As part of the settlement, we will provide additional funding to non-profit groups to educate users about internet privacy.”
The proposed settlement still needs to be approved by a federal judge before the case is formally resolved.