Reports Reuters:

Google Inc will pay $17 million to settle allegations by 37 states and the District of Colombia that it secretly tracked Web users by placing special digital files on the Web browsers of their smartphones.

The deal, announced Monday morning, ends a nearly two-year probe by the states into allegations that Google bypassed the privacy settings of customers using Apple Inc's Safari Web browser by placing "cookies" into the browser.

Google will have made back that $17 million by the end of the afternoon Monday.

There are 39 comments

patruns says:

No background info Phil? I'm not familiar with the case and really didn't expect I would have to Google it just to see what it is all about. At least a link would have been nice.

Edit: Ok, I see the Reuters link. Still........

aaltaf22 says:

Why don't the users ever see that money? It's the users whose info was abused. Not apple

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pinch55 says:

I was thinking the exact same thing.

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icebike says:

Further, this penalty would never have been applied to anyone else other than Google.

Virtually everybody ignores Do Not Track browser settings, and I don't see anyone getting hauled up on charges for that.

mwara244 says:

Wonder how much the NSA would owe every person with a smartphone. Would be nice to see some Dev create an app that let's you know if and what apps and software track and data mine you and all your mobile devices. If there was someway to copy the info before its sent out and then process' it and tells you. I've only seen do not track in my chrome beta browser no where else.

tonymhoffman says:

No personal information was taken.. how was the user effected by this again that they deserve this money? Always one in the group going for the get rich quick scheme.

xketchupx says:

ya, that name is apple. looking to make money and make an example out of google. just like that phrase, if you cant win...cheat

pappy53 says:

Sounds like Google was the cheater on this one.

big_Drew says:

Because this lawsuit was done for display. Attorneys general need to do this periodically to show they're "selflessly working for the interest of the people". It's also advantageous for state finance since these penalties are often applied to state budget deficits.

btswein says:

Even if it was a class action, the user would probably see like $5.

brendilon says:

Less than that. The lawyers get it all. Always.

NickLippert says:

Has Google made back the money yet?

angryGTS says:

ya they made it back 5 min after they wrote the check.

mwara244 says:

That's probably what Google pays for in electricity just for their server farms every year.

Does anyone know what was actually stored on these cookies? You can store virtually anything on a cookie; it doesn't necessarily have to be personally identifiable (for instance, what map type that user prefers). The Reuters link gave no details about this other than that Google said they weren't storing personal info with them.

Jax184 says:

I believe these ones stored chocolate chips...

NickLippert says:

I prefer peanut butter cookies, too bad chrome doesn't support them.

Jax184 says:

Have you ever tried to jam a fig newton into a USB port... not so easy.

NickLippert says:

Just turn your phone to landscape and sideload the cookie.

Eric Rossman says:

Makes sense to me :)

zero3187 says:

A fig newton is not a cookie

Deke218 says:


"Google will have made back that $17 million by the end of the afternoon Monday."

They made that in the time it took me to press the save button on the comment.

hmmm says:

Price of business. I bet they earned more money by tracking everyone than this settlement cost. Most of the time these settlements are worded so that the company is not admitting anything as well.

DreamSTi says:

Google to make it back by Monday afternoon? That may be the dumbest thing I have seen from this website.

shaytoon21 says:

your comment is the dumbest thing i have seen on this website. worse than the apple trolls

btswein says:

It's not a dick, don't take it so hard.

erjennin says:

"Google will have made back that $17 million by the end of the afternoon Monday."

In Profit Phil? $17M in Revenue is not the same as $17M in profit. A payment comes straight out of their pockets (i.e. profit).

vansmack says:

They pay it out of revenue and charge it as a loss against the books.

Phil has it right.

jschu22 says:

Yeah, I'm sure no one at Google cares about this at all. I've even read reports of money literally flying out of their office windows when the breeze picks up.

mwara244 says:

What was it, about 1% of schmidt's bonus this year?

travaz says:

Q3 2013 Revenue was 14.90 Billion with a profit of 2.97 Billion = 33 Million profit a day. So it took 4 Hours to make it back to make it back.

Amir47 says:

This is like the time Monsanto was fined some ridiculously low amount for their GMO crops running wild and Stephen Colbert looked at his watch and was like "Monsanto just made back the amount they were fined" looked at watched for 3 second 1 more time "and again!"

mwara244 says:

Except Monsanto is Evil. Genetically altering food to profit from it with no positive affects from it whatsoever. GMO's don't increase yeild, can not be tested by anyone till the patent is open to see if it is harmful or not. The People who run the FDA are all ex Monsanto employees, literally left Monsanto and then worked at the FDA just when Monsanto needed their product to pass FDA for approval. Next year one of Monsanto's patents expire from the 90's so it will be open to test on and all the sudden this year a Monsanto protection bill was passed in congress added anonymously to an ag bill that prevents any faults to Monsanto if their frankenfood might cause harm to anything. Basically can't sue them for anything and get out of jail free card they are not liable for anything they have done.

Lol love that last sentence ...

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someguy01234 says:

Well since we're on this topic, I'm a bit annoyed that while clearing cookies on my Android browser, it doesn't clear all the google cookies, which seems to be stored in the JSON files or something, so I have to clear the cache as well to get rid of them, talk about sneaky.

K White1 says:

The cache on my smartphone no longer clears completely after the 4.3 update.

Posted via Android Central App, HTC One

And in other news ... No one really cared

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PaulDE says:

Every single browser except Safari offers you the option to handle single cookie requests, instead of just having the three options to allow all/third party/none cookies. And Apple bitches about a few out of thousands on my Mac.
Yes, i do own a Mac, it's a beautiful machine with a beautiful OS (10.6.8). Sadly, this company turned from awesome to utter bullshit in a half of a decade.

TenshiNo says:

The real problem, here, is that most people don't understand what a "cookie" is or what it does. All they know is that all of the "malware" programs tell them that "cookies are bad" so they run around screaming that the sky is falling and then try and turn off *all* cookies, not even realizing that they're "breaking" a lot of websites in the process.

-- Never take medical advice from an undertaker.