Photo: wayneandwax

Google has settled a class action lawsuit over the launch of social media tool Google Buzz without privacy controls for $8.5 million.

The Google Buzz feature is similar to Twitter in that it allows users to share information with their connections. When the feature was launched there were no privacy controls in place and users were automatically linked publicly to those contacts they often used with Gmail. This left many users upset and a class action lawsuit against the company was filed.

Google has agreed to settle the suit by setting up an $8.5 million fund. The majority of the money will be used to fund organizations that focus on internet privacy education. It is speculated that the remaining funds will be used for court costs and legal fees associated with the lawsuit.

A Google spokesperson said the company is satisfied with the agreement and glad to be moving forward.

The court will consider final approval of the proposed settlement on January 31, 2011.