Congratulations! You Won That Google Lawsuit You Didn’t Know You Filed

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But they look so friendly! Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

You remember Google Buzz, right? That incredibly useful new feature Google introduced that automatically enrolled Gmail subscribers to a real-time information bonanza of tweets they already saw on their friends' Twitter, pictures they already saw on their friends' Flickrs, status updates they already saw on Gchat, and so much more! Well, Gmail users received an e-mail last night notifying them that an $8.5 million settlement had been reached in a class-action lawsuit about privacy concerns, like the fact that users had to opt out to stop Buzz from exposing users' frequent Gmail contacts. (Yahoo Mail — where it's still safe to e-mail your mistress!) Before you attempt complicated math like $8.5 million divided by everybody, all the money is going to an independent fund that will support privacy education and policy groups. It seems unlikely the funds will make the trip across the pond considering the U.K.'s ruling today that Google did indeed break the law when its Street View cars accidentally snarfed up more data than originally revealed from unencrypted Wi-Fi networks as its cars rode by. Seems like that new "build now, correct later" privacy model we were talking about is really catching on.

Google Alerts Users of Google Buzz Settlement [PC Mag]
U.K.: Google Breached Data Laws [WSJ]