Buzz Lawsuit to cost Google $8.5m

Mike Halsey MVP
Sep 6, 2010
Updated • May 9, 2012

Google has proposed payments totalling $8.5m (£5.5) to settle a lawsuit brought over the Buzz social network.  Back in February the new social networking beta from the company caused controversy when users could see the contacts information for everyone they were already connected to.

Several GMail users who were affected by the glitch sued Google over privacy issues, saying that their personal privacy had been violated by Google becausr they were not offered an option to prevent others from seeing their personal contact details.

The payout will go to seven GMail users, each of who will received $2,500.  30% of the payout will be paid for legal fees.  The remainder will be split between several organisations that promote and campaign for better online privacy.

A condition of the settlement requires Google to better educate its users about online privacy.  The full settlement is awaiting approval from the federal court.

The Buzz service was changed following a rash of privacy complaints to prevent users from automatically being able to see the contact details of everyone they were connected to.  The entire service no longer exists online as the beta was dropped last month.


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  1. Q said on September 8, 2010 at 3:35 am

    I did not realize that Google had a social network.

  2. wraith808 said on September 7, 2010 at 8:15 pm

    Buzz still exists… an easy way to tell is to look at the bottom of your gmail account for the turn on/off buzz link.

  3. Anonymous said on September 7, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    Another thing, simply being sued for not providing an out is a load of crap. I wanna see ’em get sued for foisting it upon everyone, and then saying they can “opt-out”. And by ’em, I mean Facebook and all of the big player d-bags who pretty much depend on user ignorance. Oh well, time to find another cute little legal loophole from which to exploit the general online-ignorant public.

    I mean it’s a little late to opt-out once Google has cached the page, ain’t it!

  4. Anonymous said on September 7, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    I remember being similarly horrified at the notion of all my friends seeing my contact infos via Buzz, as well as telling contacts in my list (whom I didn’t add) about it. It was a lousy, underhanded move on Google’s part and I’m glad that a good overall result has come from this. It’s bad enough that Facebook thinks (rightly) that they can shove their “Internet integration” down everyone’s throats.

    Companies typically do this sort of thing because the herd of unwashed luddites does not give two shits what X company does with their formerly private details. All the recent moves by Google to be more forthcoming is less of a mystery now.

    Google got off easy as hell, and I only wish it had stung more.

  5. Anonymous said on September 7, 2010 at 4:37 am

    Are you sure Google Buzz no longer exists? I still get on my Gmail…

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