In September, we learned the terms under which Google agreed to settle the class-action lawsuit filed by Buzz users who claimed their privacy had been violated by the social-networking service: Thirty percent of the $8.5 million Google agreed to pay will go to attorney fees, each plaintiff will receive $2,500 and the remaining funds will be paid to an organization that focuses on safeguarding privacy rights. Google is also obligated to do a better job of educating users of their privacy rights.
This week, the search giant complied with other settlement terms requiring the company to inform Gmail users of the lawsuit and its settlement. Beginning Tuesday, Gmail users started receiving e-mails from Google, InformationWeek reports. The emails contained a summary of the settlement, explained how it would affect users and directed them to a website, BuzzClassAction.com, for information on how to opt out of or comment on the settlement.
Perhaps of most interest (or insult, depending on your point of view) to the users is the portion that reads:
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.
Google also promised to do more to educate users about the privacy controls that have been built into Buzz as a result of the lawsuit-because "[t]he more people know about privacy online, the better their online experience will be."
A decision on final approval of the settlement is expected Jan. 31, 2011.