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Google Buzz Privacy Payments

David Gilbert


Like most of us here at TrustedReviews, you may have received an email in your Gmail inbox this morning from none other than Google themselves. While we initially thought we were special, it transpires that Google emailed all Gmail users (that’s almost 200million people) to tell them they would not be receiving any of the £5.3m lawsuit settlement it was ordered to pay in court yesterday. Well, it was nice of them to let us know at least.

The message opened: “Google rarely contacts Gmail users via email,” and went on to tell users they had reached a settlement with a group of Google Buzz users who claimed the company breached their privacy rights.

Launched in February this year, the Twitter-like service automatically disclosed a list of people users emailed regularly to other people following them. This, as you can imagine, didn’t please everyone. With privacy settings on social media sites a hot topic at the moment, Google Buzz really didn’t have a leg to stand on.

The email went on to make it quite clear that individual Gmail users would not be receiving any money from the settlement. “Just to be clear, this is not a settlement in which people who use Gmail can file to receive compensation.” The message then said users had four options: opt into the settlement; opt out; go to court to object verbally or write to the court to object.

The £5.3m settlement will instead go to “an independent fund, most of which will support organizations promoting privacy education and policy on the web.” Google also stated in its email that the settlement acknowledged it changed the privacy settings on Google Buzz to address the concerns of users.

The initial issues surrounding privacy on the service have probably contributed to Buzz’s failure to make any sort of impact on Facebook or Twitter and unless something major happens in the near future we could see the service scraped altogether.

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