Google has agreed to settle a class-action lawsuit brought by Gmail users claiming Google Buzz violated their privacy.
As part of the settlement, Google said it will create an $8.5 million fund, with the majority of the money going to organizations focused on Internet privacy education and policy. In addition, Google pledged to do more to educate users about the privacy aspects of Buzz.
Google made a number of changes to improve privacy for Buzz after controversy erupted following the service’s launch in February.
“We are satisfied with the agreement and are glad to move forward,” said a Google spokesperson. “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 experience possible.”
A federal district court judge granted the settlement preliminary approval Oct. 7.
“We feel this settlement has many benefits to class members, including providing a significant amount of money to non-profit groups committed to educating users about Internet privacy and ensuring that Buzz users can join this on-line community without compromising their privacy,” said Gary E. Mason, counsel for the plaintiffs in the litigation, in a statement.
The court will consider final approval of the proposed settlement (PDF) on Jan. 31, 2011.