Update: I am going to be on CNBC’s On The Money show to discuss Google Finance @ 7pm EST/ 4pm PST along with Paul Kedrosky and David Vise. The much awaited launch of Google Finance service finally happened – in beta of course. And in one […]

Update: I am going to be on CNBC’s On The Money show to discuss Google Finance @ 7pm EST/ 4pm PST along with Paul Kedrosky and David Vise.

The much awaited launch of Google Finance service finally happened – in beta of course. And in one word, it is simply disappointing. Its like watching Al Pacino in a stinker like Two for the money. Tony Montana was so long ago!

But back to Google Finance. After playing around with it for about 15 minutes, it is obvious that it will be a long time, and I mean long time in Internet years that is, before Google Finance really catches up to Yahoo Finance, which in fact is the gold standard. (Just by the virtue of lack of competitors, as it might be.)

My inner cynic says that the reason Google launched this service this quickly is because it wants to capture those high CPM/CPC dollars from stock and mortgage brokerages. Yahoo Finance is like an ATM for guys in Sunnyvale, and Google till recently had nothing to capture the “exuberant enthusiasm in the stock and real estate markets.”

I did a quick stock quote look-up on Apple, and found that most of the information of Google Finance Company Tearsheet was pretty much the same as Yahoo – except there was a section dedicated to blog entries related to Apple. That indeed is welcome news! And while, I applaud them for including the blog posts in the company tear sheets, I bemoan the lack of more timely and recent blog posts. After all when it comes to market data, two-hour-old information, might as well be dead bytes.

The other feature which I liked about the company tear-sheets is how stock charts, and certain news stories are tied together using AJAX Flash. Full marks to Google for making it easier to find and correlate news events with stock performance.

But that’s all. There is nothing else which even remotely impressed me. I totally disagree with Charlene Li of Forrester Research, who offers the most politically correct quote to San Jose Mercury News. “It is definitely an improvement…It’s not a mind-blowing improvement … which is actually an advantage. You already know how to use it.” John Battelle offers an equally benign reportage on what clearly is a me-too move. Paul Kedrosky is being kind when he clearly states, “All Whiz, No Bang.”

Given how entrenched Yahoo Finance is in people’s lives, Google cannot be incrementally better. A couple of ajax widgets will not make me switch from Yahoo Finance to Google Finance. Despite the beta-tag, I find Google Finance downright tiresome and plain ugly. Just like Al Pacino in …. Two for the Money.

  1. Could not agree more with your last paragraph. For all the technical prowess they have, Google seems to be going to the Stark-UI-Well a little too often. The search box and Maps page are fine this way; but not content-rich pages like News, Finance, Froogle and Video. YHOO can also probably rip the novel features in GOOG Finance without tons of trouble (a la the new Yahoo Maps), and then where does that leave the latter?

  2. Check out the graphs! You can see major news stories overlaid with pricing and trading volume data and even drag the chart around Google Maps style.

  3. yeah, niall i said that was the only redeeming quality of this service. that don’t make this a must use, switch my portfolio product. massive two thumbs down from me on this one.

  4. Hey Om, it looks like the charts use Flash, not ajax, which is interesting.

  5. I’m interested in knowing what kind of features you would expect from a service like this. I really did not expect anything outstanding. It’s just stock info. I don’t see how much more they could do, except perhaps giving more information than yahoo(where google lacks in info, they do provide links) or just aesthetics. To me, this is just a matter of preference for users.

    Maybe someone could come up with something revolutionary in this area, but I don’t think it would matter to most people. When it comes down to it, you just want to get info on the company you watch.

    I think sometimes people expect too much from google to the point where its not realistic, instead a bit dreamy. This leads to many google disappointments. Its just another company, nothing super about them.

  6. I noticed that if you are logged in, it tracks your recent quotes on the main page. The flash chart is cool!, I like how the news refreshes as you drag around on the chart, or change the scale.

    Other than that, nothing exciting, the portfolio is very basic, and overall form is like you said, “plain ugly!”

  7. Even if they need to catch up on features on the finance portal, I think they already grabbed a lot of switchers for their main portal (myGoogle). Stock quotes from myGoogle now link straight to Google Finance. I doubt folks will go much farther from there for basic company watching. For deeper research, they’ll probably head to Yahoo or their online broker. While the online broker’s revenue model (atleast for now) is in the clear, who do you think will attract more ad dollars – Google’s higher volume, more transient traffic or Yahoo’s lower volume, stickier traffic?

  8. Jeremy Johnson Tuesday, March 21, 2006

    I corresponded with head of products at Google about developing a Google Finance product quite some time ago. I gave him numerous ideas on directions the site could go which provide significant competition to the entrenched players. They honestly weren’t the least bit interested. I just don’t think Google wants to be in the content business.

  9. I actually kind of like it, and the lack of ads are refreshing… but, yes Yahoo is still the leader.

  10. Om –
    Don’t know if you saw these posts on the Internetstockblog but they are in the same vein.


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