A federal judge in San Francisco says she is leaning toward approving a government settlement that will require Google to pay a $22.5 million fine to resolve allegations that it duped Web surfers using the Safari browser so it could track their online activities.
The Federal Trade Commission reached the agreement with Google Inc. in August, but court approval is still needed.
U.S. District Judge Susan Illston indicated during a court hearing Friday that she will approve the settlement. The hearing gave a consumer rights group a final opportunity to persuade Illston to scuttle the agreement on the grounds that it doesn't do enough to prevent Google from future misconduct.
Illston brushed off most of the misgivings raised by Consumer Watchdog. She didn't say when she will issue a ruling.