Microsoft is set to enter the online listings business, in competition with the likes of Google. The company, who has set its sights squarely on becoming a force in online classified advertising, has been testing a service, code named Fremont, which would let Internet users enter details of personal items in a specially designed database. This information is then searchable.

MSN said it would give users the power to restrict access to the information to particular groups of people. The service will be integrated with other MSN services, such as the company’s Messenger instant messaging service, the company said.