updated 12/21/2006 2:33:14 PM ET 2006-12-21T19:33:14

Google Inc. has released a new version of its Blogger service, adding privacy settings that restrict readership to a predetermined audience.

Users can choose to have blogs accessible to anyone or just to themselves.

Or they can list the e-mail addresses of the people they want to let in. Those readers would need to register for a free Google account — the same used for its Gmail and other services — and would sign in with their regular Google passwords.

Several blogging competitors already offer privacy options, and in fact, Blogger used to offer a password option through a premium service that's no longer available.

Google began offering the new privacy features this week, although it is gradually converting existing Blogger users to the upgrade.

The offering comes as potential employers, mates and others increasingly try to screen people by checking out their blogs, social-networking profiles and other Internet postings.

The new version of Blogger also comes with other enhancements, including the ability to tag posts with multiple keywords, the way Gmail users can label their e-mails.

Blogger, which is free, is among the more widely used software for keeping Web journals. Its blogs are generally published under the "blogspot.com" address.

Google bought its developer, San Francisco-based Pyra Labs, in February 2003.

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