Google is spending US$8.5 million to settle a class-action lawsuit filed over the rollout of its Google Buzz social-networking service.
The proposed settlement was filed Friday in federal court in San Jose, California. The money will cover attorney fees and also be used to fund groups focused on Internet privacy, according to court filings.
If approved by a judge, the settlement will close a chapter on the ill-fated February launch of Google's alternative to Facebook. Buzz worried users because it made the names of users' Gmail contacts public, often without their knowledge. Google quickly addressed the issue but was soon hit with class-action lawsuits, which were eventually consolidated into this case.
In a statement Friday, Google said it was "satisfied with the agreement" and "glad to move forward."
The Internet company has come under fire for the way it handles the growing amount of sensitive information that its users hand over. This week, Consumer Watchdog -- a longtime Google critic -- released a video criticizing Google CEO Eric Schmidt and calling for a national Do Not Track Me list, similar to the national Do Not Call list. [computerworld.com...]
If you want to get a better idea of the amount of tracking and personal information gathering going on try to fathom some of this.... [google.com...]
There are some practical tools in there to opt-out of some of Google's various data mining practices, some good browser add-on options too. But, we shouldn't have to resort to this in the first place, it's just so very morally wrong that a commercial entity has gathered so much info with no accountability.