Updated from 5 p.m.

Now Google ( GOOG) is taking aim at eBay ( EBAY), according to published reports.

Mountain View, Calif.-based Google, already the most used Web search engine, is considering adding a service where people could list goods and services for sale, according to a report Tuesday in The Wall Street Journal.

The company described the service, called Google Base, as "an early-stage test of a product that enables users to easily send their content to Google," according to a company statement obtained by the newspaper.

"We are testing new ways for content owners to easily send their content to Google," a spokesman said in an email. "Like our Web crawl and the recently released Google Sitemaps program, we are working to provide content owners an easy way to give us access to their content. We're continually exploring new opportunities to expand our offerings, but we don't have anything to announce at this time."

Google Base would put Google in competition with eBay, which also is one of the largest buyers of search advertisements, the Journal said. Direct competition between Google and eBay, which also owns a stake in the Web listings site Craigslist, had been expected to occur, the paper said.

Information about Google Base had been posted on www.base.google.com, a Web site that the Journal says was briefly available Tuesday.

The development comes as the Internet space is getting ever more crowded and its rivalries increasingly fierce. Google and Yahoo! ( YHOO), in addition to doing battle in the lucrative Net search field, are also jockeying for position in ventures as farflung as book-indexing. Meanwhile, outfits like Comcast ( CMCSA) and Microsoft ( MSFT) have joined the bidding for a possible stake in Time Warner's ( TWX) AOL.

Shares of Google fell 21 cents to $346.70.

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