updated 04:50 pm EDT, Tue November 2, 2010
Google settles Buzz class action lawsuit
Google today made public word that it had reached a settlement over accusations of privacy violations relating to Google Buzz. The search firm will cover the costs of the class action suit and has agreed to set aside $8.5 million for a privacy education fund to inform users about privacy risks online. Google denied any wrong in the case but agreed to better tell users about privacy in Buzz.
Initial approval had already been given to the settlement by Judge James Ware on October 7, but the two parties only made the deal public today. Final approval is expected by January 31.
The service only launched just at the start of the year but immediately drew criticism from privacy advocates and the law. When it first arrived, Buzz not only auto-enrolled users into the real-time update system by default but gave little control over how much information could be shared with others. Updates often included location information by default, usually supplied from Android and iPhone apps, and carried a serious risk of letting stalkers and others know a person's location without their immediate knowledge.
Everyone in the US who has used Buzz is covered by the settlement and has to either exclude themselves from the class before December 6 or else signal an intent to object to the deal before January 10.