With the new system, users would search for a piece of content -- say, a U2 ringtone -- and get back a list of providers as well as links enabling them to easily purchase the material. Eventually, Google would charge companies for high placement in the search results, much the way it offers "sponsored links" on computer Web searches, the people familiar with the plans say.
If reports are to be believed, the new Google mobile product could also face opposition from cell phone carriers, especially if Google enables customer payment through its own online Checkout service, bypassing operatorsí storefronts.
Though mobile content is still a small market, it is growing quickly. With industry analysts estimating global sales of music, video, ringtones and other content mobile to reach $59.3 billion by 2011.