$8.5m sounds like a big payday for someone, but don’t get too exited for the plaintiffs, the seven involved in bringing this action will receive no more than $2,500 each. 30% of the cash will go to lawyers and the rest will be put in a fund for organisations involved with internet education and privacy issues.
Google made a huge booboo when they launched Google Buzz back in February by automatically including users’ frequent Gmail contacts on public Buzz profiles. As the world’s biggest search provider you really have to get ‘privacy’ right, but then aren’t lawsuits tax deductable? This could be a small blessing for the Google accountant.
Who gets to keep the interest on the fund is my question, perhaps they can slice it up between the rest of the Gmail account users who may have divorced, lost business or been caught lying in the debacle of the Google Buzz launch. Or better still, allocate the money to search engine marketing company initiatives to help us protect against Google privacy slips….wishful thinking.
The FTC commissioner ruled that the mistake was a case of “irresponsible conduct”, you don’t say. Google apologised profusely and government agencies scrutinised the Buzz platform. My heart goes out to the poor man/woman responsible for the mistake, if one of my search engine marketing company employees landed me a lawsuit of epic proportions I wouldn’t be best pleased, to say the least.
As for Buzz, Google has refused to disclose how many people are actively using the service, yet it doesn’t seem to be drawing too much attention. Is Buzz, in addition to Google Wave, the next epic failure for the search giant, it certainly looks that way.