Google Pushes New Privacy Feature

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. ( TheStreet) -- Google ( GOOG ) has stepped up its privacy efforts, launching a new Web feature Thursday that it claims will give users more control over their personal data.

The Internet giant unveiled its Google dashboard, which is linked to more than 20 of its products, including Gmail, Calendar, YouTube and the photo-sharing site Picasa.

"The dashboard summarizes data for each product that you use and provides you direct links to control your personal settings," said Google, in a statement released before market open. " This offers a simple view into the data associated with your account -- easily and concisely in one location."

Google claims to be the first Internet company to offer users this level of detail, and this is the latest in a string of privacy efforts from the tech bellwether. The company, which has become synonymous with the Web era, has been a frequent target of privacy watchdogs concerned about its ability to protect users' personal data. Google, however, updated its privacy policy earlier this year, and has established a Privacy Center on its Web site to explain its data collation and protection practices.

The search giant's privacy push comes at a time when its rivals are attempting to shift the balance of power in cyberspace.

Microsoft ( MSFT), for example, which recently forged a search deal with Yahoo! ( YHOO), is on a mission to challenge Google's Internet dominance.

-- Reported by James Rogers in New York

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