Google is preparing to launch an online payment system that might compete with eBay's PayPal electronic payment system, according to newspaper reports.
The chief executive of an unnamed online retailer said the retailer had been approached by Google to take part in the new service, according to a report in the June 20 edition of the The New York Times newspaper. The service was also discussed last Thursday at a conference for analysts hosted by investment advisor Piper Jaffray & Co., according to an earlier report in The Wall Street Journal.
No other details about the proposed service were published. Google's Japanese unit could not immediately be reached for comment.
A spokesman based in Google's Mountain View, California, headquarters said the company declined to comment on this matter.
The move by Google would be a chance to diversify its revenue stream, according to the reports.
Google's searches access just over 8 billion Web pages, according to the company's Web site. PayPal. says it has 71 million account members worldwide.
Google's main source of revenue is selling advertisements that appear next to search results and on the its Froogle price comparison Web site.
The company reported a net income of US$369 million for the three months ending March 31, nearly six times the income for the same period the previous year, on surging advertising revenues. Revenue for the three months to March 31 was US$1.3 billion, up 93 percent on the same period in 2004, the company said.
As of March 31, Google held US$2.5 billion in cash and equivalents, it said.
(Juan Carlos Perez in Miami contributed with this story.)