Google has revealed that a class action lawsuit filed by disgruntled users of the company’s email service and their Google Buzz social networking application has now been settled for £5.5 million ($8.5 million). A corporation used to defending lawsuits, it is likely that Google covered the costs of this settlement using the company’s professional indemnity insurance.
Users of Google’s Gmail filed the class action lawsuit over the Google Buzz application found within the email service, alleging that it violated their personal privacy.
Users complained that the service, launched in February 2010, afforded them little control over who they were connected to within social networks created by Buzz from their email contacts. One woman, in particular, complained that she was put into contact with her allegedly “abusive” ex-husband due to the way the email service and social networking app links details together.
In response to the complaints, Google created an ‘opt-in’ service and included new privacy controls for users. The corporation also agreed to payout £1,600 compensation to each of the complainants in order to settle the dispute, as well as using part of the money to cover legal fees associated with the lawsuit. Money will also be distributed amongst organisations currently campaigning for greater levels of privacy for online users.