US Internet search goliath Google is testing a database service that would put it into competition with one of its big advertisers: eBay, the company confirmed on Tuesday.
Online blogs buzzed with word of Google's motives after some Internet users a day earlier found a test service called Google Base that handled online classified advertising. The site was down on Tuesday.
"We are testing a new way for content owners to submit their content to Google, which will complement existing methods such as web crawl and the Google Sitemaps program," Eileen Rodriguez of Google said.
Google Base would allow people to list items wanted or offered for sale in an online-classified forum similar to those provided by eBay and Craigslist, according to feedback in blogs.
EBay is a major purchaser of Google online advertising, according to MarketWatch in San Francisco.
"It looks like Google will be launching Google Base which will compete with eBay and probably Craigslist," Jason Caplain wrote in a Southeast Venture Capital blog.
"This is very big -- especially tied in with Google's plan to have their own online payment system, Google Wallet."
It remained to be seen how eBay, which owns a percentage of Craigslist, will react to the potential for Google to go from being a business associate to a competitor.
The sign that Internet search king Google is intent on expanding its realm came as it battled with online titans Yahoo, Microsoft and America Online for the loyalty of computer users.
US Internet giants have duked it out in four arenas: search, e-mail, instant messaging and portal services such as mapping and computer telephone calling, according to Yankee Group analyst Su Li Walker.
"Everyone was somewhat in limbo, then Google came out with a search and everyone perked up to improve their offerings," Walker said in an interview earlier this year.
Internet giants are offering disparate free services because once computer users step through a portal, they can be directed to features that produce revenue or be targeted for advertising, experts said.