Google Buzz Settlement Includes $8.5M For Privacy Education


Google reached a settlement in a lawsuit regarding its Google Buzz service, which launched last February.

In the class-action suit, several Gmail users alleged that Google automatically enrolled them in the Buzz service, a social media tool that lets Gmail users share updates, photos and recent activity with their contacts.

The lawsuit alleges that the Buzz service publicly exposed users' data, including their most frequent Gmail contacts, without consent. Google denied the allegations and said it did not violate any law or cause any harm with the launch of Google Buzz.

In the settlement, Google said it "quickly changed the service to address users' concerns" and is committing $8.5 million to an independent fund that will support organizations promoting privacy education and policy on the Web.

Soon after Buzz's launch, Google took steps to address users' concerns, including increased visibility, an updated startup process featuring auto suggestions, and adding Buzz to the Google Dashboard. Last April, Google also rolled out a "second chance" -- encouraging Buzz users to check and verify their privacy settings, according to Google.

NEXT: No Individual Compensation"We will also do more to educate people about privacy controls specific to Buzz. The more people know about privacy online, the better their online experience will be," said Google in an e-mail to Gmail users.

Individual Gmail users are not entitled to any compensation in the settlement.

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