Google pwned in Buzz Class Action

Just got this email to one of my google apps email addresses, which is kind of weird, I would expect to receive it at my primary gmail account…

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

This mandatory announcement was sent to all Gmail users in the United States as part of a legal settlement and was authorized by the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.

Google Inc. | 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway | Mountain View, CA 94043

They link over to the website dedicated to the issue:

I don’t think that Google did anything heinously wrong and blatantly created a huge privacy issue here.  Sure, buzz sucks, but you were prompted to which contacts you wanted to share information with, and what accounts you wanted to link, etc.  But of course, someone saw an opportunity to sue them and see if they could make a quick buck.  I like how their settlement is to set up a $8.5 mil fund to increase online privacy awareness.  But do you think that will make any of us read privacy policies and terms of use?  Probably not…

Is it just me that thinks that Google should stick to the things they do best (maps, email, search…) and give up on the already crowded social space?  Thoughts?…

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