Google may launch a micropayment system for newspapers by the end of the year. paidContent references from the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, which says:
"Google is encouraging publishers to try out a system called "NewsPass," which'll let people log-in to the sites of participating news publishers using a single login. Publishers will be able to designate what type of payment they want to accept, including subscriptions and micropayments. People who find content from participating publishers in Google search will see a paywall icon next to that content and be able to purchase access directly from there using Checkout."
It's unclear if such a program would be launched in Italy at first, or worldwide. Google responded to paidContent, in part: "We don't pre-announce products and don't have anything to announce at this time."