What’s the BUZZ on the Google Class Action Lawsuit

Today gmail users were sent out a letter informing us that there has been a class action lawsuit filed against Google, specific to their BUZZ service introduced earlier this year.  Basically the lawsuit has to do with privacy and the interesting part says that everyone who has an active gmail account is included in the suit, unless they opt out.  Google has set aside $8.5 million.  So what does that mean for you?

NOTHING.  Why you ask? Well because the award figure is so extremely low that by the time you take out 25 to 40% for the lawyers, you have to divide up the rest between all the gmail users.   There are rumored to be between 26 and 51 million gmail users out there.  So when you divide up that $8.5 million between those 26 to 51 some odd million users, you get dick.

In fact, it will actually cost Google more to print and mail each of those checks than each person will actually be getting.

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 (http://buzz.google.com), 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 http://www.BuzzClassAction.com

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.

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