Google is planning an online payment system to compete with eBay's PayPal system, according to reports, adding another area of potential online dominance for the search engine company.

The chief executive of an unnamed online retailer said it had been approached by Google to take part in the new service, according to a report in The New York Times. The service was also discussed at an analyst conference, according to The Wall Street Journal.

No other details about the proposed service were published, but it would be a chance for Google diversify its revenue. And it points to the company's Microsoft-styled efforts to use its name and clout to take over online markets.

Google's main source of revenue is selling ads that appear next to search results. The company reported a net income of $369 million for the three months ending 31 March, nearly six times the income for the same period the previous year, on surging advertising revenues. Revenue was $1.3 billion, up 93 percent on the same period in 2004.