Google will pay $8.5 million, most of it to nonprofit organizations, to settle a class action that claimed that it illegally divulged users’ search information to third parties, a federal judge ruled.
U.S. District Judge Edward Davila granted final approval to the settlement on March 31, finding that distributing the money to nonprofits instead of class members was appropriate.
Davila also found that the settlement was reasonable even though Google will not have to stop disclosing search queries.
The consolidated class action accused Google of routinely passing on private information through “referrer headers,” which provided the website the user was visiting with the URL of the referring page. The URL included the search terms typed in by the user.