Search giant Google is developing a micropayments platform that it hopes will be used by newspapers to charge for access to online content.
The plans were outlined in a document sent by the search firm to the Newspaper Association of America in response to a request for proposals on paid content sent to several technology firms.
The system will be an extension of Google Checkout, the PayPal rival rolled out in 2006 and "available to both Google and non-Google properties within the next year".
Payments of a penny to several dollars will be possible and integration for publishers and merchants will be "extremely simple".
Single sign-on capability will let users access content from various sites in a package with a central place to manage subscriptions and payments.
Says the document: "We envision the typical scenario to be where a user pays a monthly fee for access to a wide-ranging package of premium content. One example of a "package" might be full access to the WSJ; another "package" might include the top 10 business publications."
Hit hard by the financial crisis and falling advertising revenues, newspapers have been looking at new ways to make money from their Web sites. Earlier this year it emerged that the Wall Street Journal is planning to introduce micropayments for access to articles on its Web site.
The document can be found at the Harvard University's Nieman Journalism Lab site.