SAN FRANSISCO: In response to claims that it tracked the data of users who believed they were browsing the internet privately, Google has agreed to settle a consumer privacy lawsuit seeking at least $5 billion in damages. The “incognito” mode on Google’s Chrome browser, according to the plaintiffs, gave users the impression that their online activity was anonymous, which was the basis for the lawsuit. However, internal Google emails revealed in the lawsuit showed that the search engine and advertising giant was tracking users who were using incognito mode in order to measure web traffic and sell ads.

The judge verified in a court document that Google’s attorneys had reached an initial settlement to end the class action lawsuit, which was first brought in 2020 and stated that “millions of individuals” had probably been impacted. The plaintiffs’ attorneys were requesting at least $5,000 for each user they claimed the company’s Google Analytics or Ad Manager services had tracked. That would have been a minimum of $5 billion. The parties’ preliminary settlement was made in the absence of payment.

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