How to Claim Your Share of Google's $23 Million Search Data Settlement

Google agreed to settle a longstanding lawsuit accusing it of improperly sharing users' search data.

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Use Google? You could be owed part of a $23 million settlement the Alphabet-owned company has agreed to pay to settle claims it shared user data without permission.

News of the payout was announced in January and now details about how you can claim your share have been made public.

The settlement dates to a 2010 lawsuit alleging Google shared "referrer headers" with outside companies, essentially showing them the terms users typed to find their site. 

An $8.5 million settlement was reached in 2015, but most of the money was directed toward internet privacy groups, as the roughly 129 million eligible Google users would have otherwise received "a paltry 4 cents in recovery," according to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Tort reform activist Ted Frank challenged that deal and his appeal went all the way to the Supreme Court, which returned the case to the Ninth Circuit in 2019. A new settlement deal was carved out last year, with the majority earmarked for class members.

Google didn't respond to a request for comment but, in court documents, it denied any wrongdoing.

Below, find out if you are eligible for money from the Google settlement, as well as how to file a claim and how much money you might receive.

For more on lawsuits, find out what a class-action settlement is and if you qualify for money from Facebook's $725 million privacy settlement

Who qualifies for money from the Google settlement?

Any US resident who used Google Search and clicked on a search result between Oct. 26, 2006, and Sept. 30, 2013, can file a claim in the settlement.

How do I submit a claim?

To file a claim, you need to complete a registration form and receive a Class Member ID.

You can then submit your claim on the settlement website, or print out and complete a form and mail it in to:
Settlement Administrator
In re Google Referrer Header Privacy Settlement
c/o Kroll Settlement Administration
P.O. Box 225391
New York, NY, 10150-5391 

Claims must be filed online or postmarked by 11:59 p.m. PT on July 31, 2023. The deadline to object to or be excluded from the settlement is also July 31. 

How much money can I receive in the Google settlement?

The exact amount individual class members will receive depends on the total number of claims filed. According to the settlement website, payment is expected to be about $7.70 per person.

When will I receive my money?

Any payments will be distributed after a final approval hearing scheduled for Oct. 12, 2023. According to the settlement notice, that process could be held up by appeals. 

"It is always uncertain whether appeals will be filed and, if so, how long it will take to resolve them," the notice reads, in part.