google-dont-be-evilGoogle's immense bank account will soon become $22.5 million dollars lighter. That's essentially chump change, but alas, U.S. regulators will require the search giant — after members of the FTC voted to approve the penalty — pay the sum after bypassing privacy settings in Apple's Safari browser.

An initial FTC probe began after allegations claimed Google used browser cookies to monitor users who didn't want to be tracked. Google claimed the tracking was accidental but, nevertheless, personal info such as names, addresses and credit data was collected. Oops.

Google declined to comment, but instead went on to blame a 2009 change in Apple's cookie-handling policy for its predicament.

Today's ruling could actually be a catalyst for further sanctions against the company from other governments across the globe. The company is currently being investigated by the European Union to determine if the it complies with Europe's stricter privacy laws, Reuters said.

In addition, the search giant is being investigated for potentially manipulating search results to favor its own products. It sounds like Google might have bigger problems on its hands than losing a slim $22.5 million.

[via Reuters]