Google faces bi-yearly privacy reviews after FTC Buzz settlement

Google has agreed to a bi-yearly independent review after US FTC investigation over privacy concerns regarding Google Buzz. The service initially used users' Gmail databases to build social networking connections, in a manner which roundly criticized. Google rapidly changed its approach, but was left facing regulator inquiries – including by the Federal Trade Commission – over its privacy policies.

The exact terms of the FTC settlement are unknown, but it seems Google's apology – "We'd like to apologize again for the mistakes we made with Buzz" – and conceding to the regular privacy checks are the main outcomes. Google says it will now "ask users to give us affirmative consent before we change how we share their personal information."