There’s been a lot of focus today on Google’s new program for letting people buy things at Google Base, the new site where they can peruse a list things other people have posted for sale.

But there’s a separate project, yet to be unveiled, that will let people do searches on Google’s main Web site, and it will let them buy things through a program we’ll loosely call GBuy.

And we’re also hearing Microsoft is coming out with something similar shortly, though we will classify this as a rumor until we find out more.

Anyway, under the Google plan, if a user searches for something at, and an advertiser on the right-hand side has signed up with Google to use Google’s own payment service, the user will know by seeing a little “G” or something in a shopping cart logo, according to someone who saw the product first-hand during a closed-door demonstration late last year.

We also blogged about GBuy earlier this month, when the WSJ ran a story about it.

The person who participated in the demo said they were part of a larger group of small business owners who rely heavily on advertising beside Google’s search results. The person said the group had asked why Google only wanted to put the “G” beside the ads, and not beside the main search results themselves. Apparently, Google didn’t want to interfere with the main search results.

Google apparently believes that people were more likely to click on an ad if it has a “G”
logo beside it than if it doesn’t, and so is confident that people will begin to use GBuy. However, some of the focus group members didn’t think that was necessarily the case. Some will continue to trust other services with longer experience fighting fraud, such as PayPal, the source said.

There was also some confusion about the sort of fee Google would charge to people using GBuy. Instead of straight percentage fee, Google was proposing an offer whereby advertisers will get discounts depending on their transaction volume.

We don’t know how much the GBuy plans have changed since the demo late last year. We asked Google for a comment. They responded with a statement:

We have said publicly many times that we are working on payment products. Billing and payments have been a part of Google’s advertising and online services for a long time. The same Google advertising programs that connect millions of consumers and advertisers require Google to process billions of dollars in advertising payments around the world. We also already have several products with payment features, including Google Answers, Google Earth, Google Store, Google Video, Google Base and we have more to come.

While we do not have any new products to announce at this time, given our relationship with advertisers and retailers it is a natural evolution of our business to work with them on ways to make online commerce easier for users.

(emphasis ours)

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