Google pays up for Buzz

Social Notworking wannabe and search engine someone Google has agreed to settle a class-action case against it by writing a cheque for $8.5 million to make it go away.

Google’s Buzz set the world on fire over concerns that the service’s original configuration violated users’ privacy. Google has made numerous changes and maintains that it did no wrong, for some reason the outfit felt that writing the big cheque was the way forward.

Few were interested in Buzz in early February and those that did were apparently incandescant with rage that the default settings revealed their  private information. Clearly they were users who had never tried Facebook.

It seemed the main problem was an auto-follow feature meant to facilitate quick adoption. As a feature it revealed their Google accounts to people they’d like to avoid.

Journalists were concerned that confidential sources could be revealed to the public, while one woman noted that her private Google account was auto-followed by her abusive ex-husband.

Google turned off the auto-follow feature and set up something called recommendations, and made some features easier to opt out of. But it was too late the lawyers had been busy.

In the proposed settlement submitted to the court last week, Google agreed to make efforts to better educate Buzz users on problems of privacy and the particular privacy features that Buzz offers.

It seems that the lawyers have also been the ones to clean up. The $8.5 million goes to a fund which will be disbursed as awards for organisations that focus on internet privacy policy or education. Those who felt their privacy had been invaded get nothing.