Another tech giant will be paying millions to settle a data privacy lawsuit.
Google has settled a class action lawsuit that alleged the company compromised personal data from people who used Google to search for information on the internet. Google has denied any wrongdoing and agreed to a $23 million settlement.
If you're one of the millions of U.S. residents who used Google Search between October 2006 and September 2013, you can file a claim.
Here’s what you need to know.
Who is eligible for settlement money?
In settling the suit, it was decided that all anyone in the United States who went to Google and carried out a search, and clicked on a search result from Oct. 26, 2006 - Sept. 30, 2016 is eligible to file a claim.
How do I file a settlement claim?
Those who are eligible may fill out a claim form and submit it online, or mail a printed form.
Your claim form must be submitted – either postmarked or electronically – by July 31, 2023 to be considered.
Filing for this settlement online is a two-step process.
First, you will first need to register to receive a Class Member ID. You cannot file a claim without this ID.
Your Class Member ID will be emailed to you, and you’ll use it to complete the second step of submitting a claim.
For both steps, you’ll have to provide your full name, address, email and phone number. During the second step, you’ll also need your Class Member ID and then attest that you’ve used Google Search during the time period specified in the lawsuit (Oct. 25, 2006 - Sept. 30, 2013).
You can then choose how you’d like to receive your payment: prepaid card, PayPal, Venmo, Zelle, or direct deposit.
And you’ll give one last swear under penalty of perjury that you’re eligible to file and the information you’ve submitted is correct.
How much money will users get?
As mentioned, Google has agreed to pay $23 million as part of the settlement agreement, though it’s not known yet exactly how much individual users may get as part of the payout.
Though, based on early estimates, each person who files an approved claim is estimated to get approximately $7.70.
The amount will likely vary though based on how many people submit valid claims.
What is the lawsuit about?
The main allegation of the lawsuit is that Google compromised the privacy of people who used Google to search for information, by "systematically and repeatedly divulging" its users’ search queries and histories.
The lawsuit alleged Google allowed users’ search queries be transferred to marketers and data brokers, and be sold and resold to countless other third parties.
The lawsuit said search queries contain personally-identifiable information, such as real names, addresses, phone numbers, credit card numbers, social security numbers, financial account numbers and more.
In addition to the settlement money, Google will also revise its "FAQs" and "Key Terms" webpages regarding the disclosure of search queries.
And if a data privacy lawsuit settlement sounds familiar, another tech giant – Facebook – agreed to settle a different data privacy lawsuit earlier this year, to the tune of $725 million. That one is accepting claims until Aug. 25, 2023.
This story was reported from Detroit.