Google announced the settlement of a privacy lawsuit Tuesday, and it notified users of their share of the deal: zip.
Last February, Google launched the Buzz service: a Twitter-like offering that lets Gmail users notify their contacts of their recent activity. Shortly after launch, many people were surprised to find that the service lumped all of their contacts together for such notifications -- even people users had written to but hadn't created specific contacts for. And in some cases, those lists were made public.
Many users were promptly displeased, enough so to file a class-action lawsuit. In the settlement, announced via an e-mail to Gmail users Tuesday, the company noted that it had quickly moved to address people's concerns but also announced an $8.5 million commitment to an independent fund that will promote privacy education and policy.
But that money isn't available to individual users, Google stressed.
"Just to be clear, this is not a settlement in which people who use Gmail can file to receive compensation," wrote Google in the e-mail. "Everyone in the U.S. who uses Gmail is included in the settlement, unless you personally decide to opt out before December 6, 2010."
"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," the e-mail explained.
The settlement comes on the same day Google said it would simplify and update its privacy policies, Associate General Counsel Mike Yang said on the company's website.
In a statement following the settlement, Google wrote that "we are satisfied with the agreement and are glad to move forward. We have always been committed to offering users transparency and choice in Buzz and all our products, and will continue to work together with users to provide the best experience possible."
Just don't ask for your cut of the cash.