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Google testing Gbuy payment service?

Google began recruiting online retailers last year to test a Gbuy payment service, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, citing unidentified sources familiar with the matter. The report said Gbuy operates independently from Google Base, a sort of classifieds service for individuals and businesses launched in November.

The Wall Street Journal report also said Google is increasing the number of Google Base sellers who can use its payment-processing service "in a move that could put pressure on eBay Inc.'s online auctions and PayPal payments services to cut or even eliminate some fees." Google charges sellers 25 cents, plus 2.5 percent of the value of the transaction, while eBay's PayPal generally charges 30 cents and fees ranging from 1.9 percent to 2.9 percent per transaction, the paper noted.

On Wednesday, the Financial Times reported that Google Base is pushing to become an online retail platform for brick-and-mortar stores in Europe.

A Google spokeswoman responded to an e-mail inquiry with this: "Google has extended invitations to a small number of Google Base users to trial payments functionality on Google Base. This invitation is for users who are selling products on Google Base and who have expressed an interest in learning more about payments. This feature enables payments for transactions between buyers and sellers on Google Base. We expect to continue inviting sellers to try this feature over the next few months." So far, much of the information provided through Google Base is not commercial in nature, she added.

In his blog, Barry Schwartz, editor of Search Engine Roundtable, documents the process of being accepted to sell items on Google Base through Google Payments.