An evaluation is made of ozone profiles retrieved from measurements of the nadir-viewing Global Ozone Monitoring Experiment (GOME) instrument. Currently, four different approaches are used to retrieve ozone profile information from GOME measurements, which differ in the use of external information and a priori constraints. In total nine different algorithms will be evaluated exploiting the optimal estimation (Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, University of Bremen, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory), Phillips-Tikhonov regularization (Space Research Organization Netherlands), neural network (Center for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research, Tor Vergata University), and data assimilation (German Aerospace Center) approaches. Analysis tools are used to interpret data sets that provide averaging kernels. In the interpretation of these data, the focus is on the vertical resolution, the indicative altitude of the retrieved value, and the fraction of a priori information. The evaluation is completed with a comparison of the results to lidar data from the Network for Detection of Stratospheric Change stations in Andoya (Norway), Observatoire Haute Provence (France), Mauna Loa (Hawaii), Lauder (New Zealand), and Dumont d'Urville (Antarctic) for the years 1997–1999. In total, the comparison involves nearly 1000 ozone profiles and allows the analysis of GOME data measured in different global regions and hence observational circumstances. The main conclusion of this paper is that unambiguous information on the ozone profile can at best be retrieved in the altitude range 15–48 km with a vertical resolution of 10 to 15 km, precision of 5–10%, and a bias up to 5% or 20% depending on the success of recalibration of the input spectra. The sensitivity of retrievals to ozone at lower altitudes varies from scheme to scheme and includes significant influence from a priori assumptions.