MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (

TheStreet

) --

Google

(GOOG) - Get Report

, one of the largest purveyors of free news, wants to help publishers charge for online content.

The search giant is working with news sites on a micropayment system that would help media companies charge pennies for articles and more money for greater news access and subscriptions.

In a

proposal first reported by Neiman Journalism Lab

, Google is pushing its Checkout system as a payment broker between news sellers and consumers.

The move would thrust Google further into

eBay's

(EBAY) - Get Report

PayPal business, which has been considered the leader in low-cost, so-called frictionless online transactions. Both Google Checkout and eBay's PayPal are independent payment systems that publishers could use on their sites.

The alternative approach in micropayments, however, is that used by the very successful

Apple

(AAPL) - Get Report

iTunes and

Amazon's

(AMZN) - Get Report

digital media sales systems.

Some investors say PayPal could be the breakaway winner should the micropayments movement take hold. The bulls point to PayPal as one example of some of the untapped potential within eBay.

--

Written by Scott Moritz in New York

.