Google Will Pay $8.5M to Settle Class-Action Buzz Lawsuit, Just Not to You


If you use Gmail, you probably received a strange and unexpected e-mail from Google yesterday about Google Buzz and some kind of $8.5 million class-action lawsuit settlement that you really didn’t bother to read about because, yeah, Google Buzz was a disaster, but you never signed up to be part of a lawsuit, and why would Google give you $8.5 million, anyway? Well, it won’t.

According to the e-mail (which you can read below), Google has settled a class-action lawsuit with a group of Google Buzz users that sued the company over privacy concerns shortly after the service launched.

Now the bad news. As part of the settlement, Google says it will pay $8.5 million…to “an independent fund, most of which will support organizations promoting privacy education and policy on the web.” Not to Gmail users who don’t know or care about Google Buzz and may have fleetingly hoped they could cash in on a piece of that pie when message appeared in their inbox last night.

In other words? No money for you. No. Money. For. You.

Google rarely contacts Gmail users via email, but we are making an exception to let you know that we’ve reached a settlement in a lawsuit regarding Google Buzz ( ), a service we launched within Gmail in February of this year.

Shortly after its launch, we heard from a number of people who were concerned about privacy. In addition, we were sued by a group of Buzz users and recently reached a settlement in this case.

The settlement acknowledges that we quickly changed the service to address users’ concerns. In addition, Google has committed $8.5 million to an independent fund, most of which will support organizations promoting privacy education and policy on the web. We will also do more to educate people about privacy controls specific to Buzz. The more people know about privacy online, the better their online experience will be.

Just to be clear, this is not a settlement in which people who use Gmail can file to receive compensation. Everyone in the U.S. who uses Gmail is included in the settlement, unless you personally decide to opt out before December 6, 2010. The Court will consider final approval of the agreement on January 31, 2011. This email is a summary of the settlement, and more detailed information and instructions approved by the court, including instructions about how to opt out, object, or comment, are available at