There were two good bits of news from Google earlier this week, well I’m not sure the second bit will count as good new for Google, but we will cross that bridge when we come to it later! The first bit of cheer for me, not least because I have just ordered a HTC Android smartphone, is that Android is closing the gap on iPhone and some of the smart money is putting down bets it will overtake Apple in the not too distant future.

Research house Neilsen revealed that Android outsold iPhones in the first half of this year, but before you start running flags up poles and ordered the fireworks display, this news is tempered by the fact that this is before iPhone 4 came out. The margin was 27% against 23% so the gap wasn’t that large but it is a significant shift in the monopolisation of the smartphone market to make a few people sit up and take notice.

Mashable reports: “It should be noted that iPhone 4 only went on sale in the last week of the second quarter, meaning that iOS might actually be closer to Android than those numbers would have you believe, given the robust sales numbers we’ve seen for Apple’s new device.

“Nonetheless, the longer-term trend remains intact – as more and more Android devices launch across manufacturers and carriers, it continues to gain marketshare in the US and around the world (another study out today shows Android shipments up 886% year-over-year worldwide)”

The second bit of good news is that the class action against Google for the Buzz privacy debacle has been settled in favour of the users who brought the action. Now before you start planning your long term retirement home, users won’t get a cent of the $8.5million settlement. In an unheard of move Google emailed all Gmail account holders with the news. For those who do not have a Gmail account, here is the full email – talk about humble pie!

It Reads: “Google rarely contacts Gmail users via email, but we are making an exception to let you know that we’ve reached a settlement in a lawsuit regarding Google Buzz, a service we launched within Gmail in February of this year.

“Shortly after its launch, we heard from a number of people who were concerned about privacy. In addition, we were sued by a group of Buzz users and recently reached a settlement in this case.

“The settlement acknowledges that we quickly changed the service to address users’ concerns. In addition, Google has committed $8.5 million to an independent fund, most of which will support organizations promoting privacy education and policy on the web. We will also do more to educate people about privacy controls specific to Buzz. The more people know about privacy online, the better their online experience will be.

“Just to be clear, this is not a settlement in which people who use Gmail can file to receive compensation. Everyone in the U.S. who uses Gmail is included in the settlement, unless you personally decide to opt out before December 6, 2010. The Court will consider final approval of the agreement on January 31, 2011. This email is a summary of the settlement, and more detailed information and instructions approved by the court, including instructions about how to opt out, object, or comment, are available at http://www.BuzzClassAction.com. “