The technology giant Google agreed pay 93 million dollars to the state of California to stop allegations that it tracked users’ locations without their knowledge. The agreement follows a “multi-year” investigation by the California Department of Justice, which determined that Google deceived users by making them believing that they were not being tracked when in reality they were.
“Our investigation revealed that Google was telling its users one thing that it would no longer track their location once they opted out but was doing the opposite and continuing to track its users’ movements for its own commercial benefit. That is unacceptable and we hold it accountable. Google with the settlement,” said Attorney General Rob Bonta.
Under the terms of the proposed agreement, Google must also provide more information about the location data it collects from users.
This is not the first lawsuit Google has seen over its location tracking feature, as it paid $85 million last year to stop another similar complaint in Arizona, and then others. $392 million to resolve similar lawsuits in 40 states, including Oregon, New York and Florida.
Since these lawsuits occurred in the United States, Google has changed its tool and according to company spokesperson José Castañeda, told the specialized media The Verge today, the accusations are “based on obsolete product policies that we changed years ago.”
The trial against Google
Google Starting this week, it faces the largest monopoly trial in its history and what is, for many, the most important of the modern internet era: the United States Government will try to demonstrate that the company uses anti-competitive tactics and abuses its position. dominant to crush their competitors in the web search engine business.
The case is reminiscent of the trial against Microsoft a quarter of a century ago, when the company founded by Bill Gates was sentenced by Justice for forcing users to browse with Internet Explorer on Windows and eliminating Netscape Navigator as a competitor, which led to a division of its business units.
In the case of Google, its search engine is in the eye of the storm. Search engines are used to navigate web pages (World Wide Web) that are hosted on the Internet, a network of interconnected computers around the world. And for more than two decades now, google.com has dominated this market and constitutes the gateway to the web for billions of users around the world.
Valued at 1.7 billion dollars, Alphabet (parent company of Google, owner of YouTube, Gmail, Maps and other popular products) It is, along with Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and Meta (Facebook), part of the conglomerate that dominates the global technology market. And this has not been built without controversy.
The trial that began this week dates back to October 2020, when the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) formally initiated the case, together with 38 states. In late 2022, Google attempted to dismiss the onslaught, but in 2023 the DOJ upheld the case and even accused the company of destroying evidence.
Thus, Washington DC became, this week, the battlefield where, for 10 weeks, a fight will be fought that could have consequences for Google, as it had for Microsoft in the 1998 judicial process. (and which was used by Google to build its online empire).