Google launched the service in February. But, through an auto-follow system, the default privacy setting was for users’ most popular Gmail contacts to be made public. While users did have the ability to hide this information, many complained that this option was not visible enough.
Google tweaked the site to make it clearer and also reorganized the way it handles user contacts, but the lawsuits allege it didn’t go far enough.
Under the deal, the seven plaintiffs will receive $2,500 each. The remainder will be put into a fund to pay off the lawyers, with the rest to be handed out to privacy organizations. Google’s also pledged to make greater efforts to educate users about how to maintain their privacy on the site.
Google has also created a new privacy tools page, bringing everything together in one place. It also says it plans to rewrite the policy to take out much of the legal jargon and make it easier to understand.
“Our updated privacy policies still might not be your top choice for beach reading (I am, after all, still a lawyer), but hopefully you’ll find the improvements to be a step in the right direction,” says Mike Yang, Google’s associate general counsel.
The updates will go live on October 3rd.