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Summary:

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?

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  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.

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  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.

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

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  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.

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  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!”

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  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?

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  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.

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

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  10. Om –
    Don’t know if you saw these posts on the Internetstockblog but they are in the same vein.
    http://internetstockblog.com/article/7930
    http://internetstockblog.com/article/7933

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  11. While I think the charts are an improvement from Yahoo’s and the portfolio seems slightly more convenient, there is nothing truly compelling for serious investors. Even casual investors need more than charts with bells and whistles.

    One feature that would be nice is an RSS feed for news stories of all companies in your portfolio. We’re trying to get there with StockTickr (social investing), but the data providers don’t make that data convenient to retrieve. We do have RSS feeds for plenty of other lists. ;-)

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  12. For those who don’t spend all our free time at yahoo finance, what is it that makes it so great?

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  13. I agree with Om here. The new chart is cool, but I much prefer the simple no frills interface of yahoo finance. I like that it has a sidebar to allow you to select the information you want to see instead of throwing it all up at once. I kind of got lost on google’s finance site there was so much information presented at once. I’m definitely sticking with yahoo finance.

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  14. sfd

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  15. Mixed Reviews of Google Finance

    From Peter O’Kelly via the NYT: Google said the service, at finance.google.com, would distinguish itself by providing stock charts with interactive qualities like those on its Google Maps service, allowing users to find deeper or specified layers of d…

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  16. Yahoo! Finance is only the standard because it loads fast and has little bloat. Its charting is stifling and its financial data is sketchy. I think Google could easily overtake Yahoo! if it just added multiple chart views, more historical data on its pretty cool interactive charts, and candlesticks with different indicators. Stockcharts is the best simple, free charter to use.

    I like the Google Finance interface. But there’s so much it could do to easily take over. Financial data needs much organization and Yahoo! has not lived up to the task even if it is the best right now.

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  17. I disagree. As a financial information portal, it’s actually very cleanly done. There’a a great deal more information available on a single page on Google Finance than there is on Yahoo Finance. Back in my consulting analyst days, we would have killed for a tool that correlated (or didn’t) stock movements to news events. The companies that come up under related companies is very interesting in certain cases; they’re clearly using some variation on the search alogrithms to produce a more sophistcated list of companies that are related in information on the web. The way the display related news is much more useful for a quick update on the company: they group related stories as on GoogleNews so that the 6-8 stories displayed on the front page are different news threads not 8 stories on the same event as on Yahoo. While it is basic looking and is clearly passing you on to other people for more sophiticated financial research I’m not sure either of those things are real weaknesses. They’ve got to at least in part remain focused on their core competency of organizing and displaying information.

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  18. Motley Fool warns against using Yahoo! Finanace for anything serious. MarketWatch.com and investors.com easily trump Yahoo! Finance on charting and tracking volume.

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  19. Motley Fool warns against using Yahoo! Finanace for anything serious. MarketWatch.com and investors.com easily trump Yahoo! Finance on charting and tracking volume.

    Motley Fool article – http://aol.fool.com/news/commentary/2006/commentary06030714.htm?source=ihghlpban100102

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  20. Like a lot of stuff Google has released recently, this effort just plain feels half-baked. Sure it’s still in “beta”, but just like Google video, it feels like the company rushed to get something out there to attract headlines. Sort of like throwing a bunch of darts hoping that a couple will hit the board and will be the next growth drivers.

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  21. Well, since Yahoo…

    1) Wrongfully accused me of violating their TOS and deactivated my account
    2) Ignores your emails
    3) Doesn’t post their customer service online (Google does, just search for Google “Contact Us” or go to http://www.google.com/contact/)
    4) Doesn’t help you when you can finally find their number.
    5) Is belligerent, rude, and totally unwilling to help you
    6) Does not care about their customers, only about the bottom line.

    I am VERY happy that Google is finally providing a service to compete against them. If they can become least as good as Yahoo, then why WOULDN’T you switch to Google?

    Google Rocks!

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  22. My feelings from reading other blogs this morning is that they wanted Google to knock this out of the park, but I don’t think that’s realistic. All Google needs too do is be slightly better to attract users who use their search and Yahoo finance, over to Google Finance. And don’t get me wrong; As it stands now, Google Finance is better than Yahoo Finance. The real question is for how long. I don’t expect Yahoo to sit by and let Google steal more traffic from them.

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  23. The Google Finance Frenzy

    I don’t really feel the need to mention the launch of Google Finance on Mashable – it seems like it’s already gaining plenty of press. Suffice to say: this is a simple strategic manoeuvre to end Google’s reliance on Yahoo! Finance. …

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  24. Randhir Reddy Tuesday, March 21, 2006

    I think this is a very good fit for Google. I kind of tested searching for MSFT on Google & tried the same on Yahoo too. The comprehensiveness of the results, without the Banner ads, adding blogs, the management bit is really cool goes to show where its headed. Its deceptively minimal, but once u do a search the real power shows up. Guess Google is gonna give Yahoo good competition. And just might help Yahoo in cleaning up its Finance Homepage, like its doing for its Search.

    This looks like a low key launch by Google. And will only improve in nice intuitive way in the days to come. Cheers! Investors…

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  25. I know its politically incorrect — you have to (gasp) pay to use it — but The Wall Street Journal’s WSJ.com is by far the best finance portal/resource on the web.

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  26. In general, Google’s brand is so strong at the current moment that they can get away with releasing products that are as good — or even worse — than their competitors and still be very successful.

    On Google Finance specifically, even though I haven’t played with it much, I kind of like it. Yahoo! Finance looks like… well, a Nascar poster child. Lots of opportunity for Google here.

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  27. Needs drive demand http://techmba.blog.asu.edu/2006/03/18/needs-drive-demand/ and the GOOG has found an unmet need in finance information. I would say that it is a nice start. Instead of phoo phooing it, let us wait for the bells and whistles.

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  28. Correlating the time that news stories are published with the stock chart is interesting, but seems more internally driven than customer driven. A quick test drive reveals that a random news source can publish at 11AM what a company put onto the wire at 8AM, and the 11AM article shows up as correlating with the stock chart. It’s a cool feature, but where timing is everything and news on the trading floor travels faster than it does with publishers, I’m not sure how relevent it really is. I love reading blogs, and no disrespect intended but but it would be hard to objectively question the validity and reliability of the data on Yahoo’s site without also questioning what someone posts to a blog that appears on the Google finance page.

    What could really be interesting is if Google could tie web search queries with market data to help make inferences about futures markets. For example, if user searches related to oil are above normal, is there a relation between that and the futures price for a barrell of crude?

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  29. Slow-loading Flash is a non-starter for this purpose. I want my stock/company info fast.

    I also don’t think some of the static information like Company Summary and Management are necessary on the snapshot page. This data almost never changes and shouldn’t be mixed in with other data that is changing by the minute.

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  30. It seems like Google has fooled itself into believing that web page design is their strength and path to world domination. Not information. Google Finance should be information driven. Instead, all it has over its (many many) rivals is a slick, limited price chart. Yahoo Finance is the best (IMHO) because it is an excellent aggregation of information. You can find whatever you need if you start from Yahoo. You can from Google too. Because it links to Yahoo.

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  31. hey Where is the Google alert..in all this hoopla

    Alert me when market is down..so that I can get my starbuck
    while it is still 5 BUCKs..

    Should have long time ago..

    I think they will overcome..

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  32. I like it and I wonder if Google will publish the top ten of most searched listed companies in their Zeitgeist.

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  33. There is not motivation for Google to copy Yahoo Finance, thus all the chatter about how poor Google Finance is doesn’t make any sense. Google is different because the info is concise and will serve a distinct segment.

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  34. I don’t really get the negative reaction. OK, it’s not revolutionary, but you do acknowledge the benefits of the treatment of news items linked to the stock price graph.

    Surely the question here is: why didn’t Yahoo take advantage of some of the benefits of Ajax sooner to keep a step ahead? It’s not as if they didn’t know they existed…

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  35. (or Flash…!)

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  36. “Disappoints” is awfully strong.

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  37. How many google engineers does it take to put a flash overlay on finance data?

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  38. Motley Fool warns against using Yahoo?

    Hmm, an AOL property warning users not to use Yahoo or MSN? Not too surprising, isn’t it? The best place the article recommends are the companies own SEC filings – which are featured prominently on Y! Finance.

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  39. I will disagree on this one. I hate the clutter of yahoo finance. This is so much neater and does everything I want. Getting the information is something I already used to google for, just to avoid using yahoo. This just makes it easier.

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  40. You got to be kidding me.

    Do a search on google finance. instead of putting in a stock.
    ie(computers, missile, media)

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  41. forgot one more.
    ie(larry page)

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  42. Erik Schwartz Tuesday, March 21, 2006

    Where are moving averages? How can I get two stocks on the same chart and compare them? Where’s the historical data (older than 5 years)?

    This is Y! Finance circa 1998 but with a nifty flash chart.

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  43. Erik Schwartz Tuesday, March 21, 2006

    Oh look, I broke it already…

    http://laurence.com/amzn/amzn.gif

    So much for flash charts.

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  44. Google Finance is a disappointing mess. Try putting in the ticker symbol “SVI” – you should get Services Acquisition Corp. International. Instead, you get Strategic Vista International, which trades as SVI on the Toronto exchange. Putting in the company name doesn’t yield the company either.

    Now, put in “PPS.” Google Finance is currently showing it’s price at $1.57, even though it closed over $45. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone made a poor decision based on their incredibly faulty data (wrong company? price off by a multiple of almost 30?!?) and tried to hold them legally responsible.

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  45. After reading your post, I couldn’t really understand what makes you think that Google Finance is “bad”. You didn’t like the look, but that’s very subjective. I didn’t find that a turning off factor. Is there inherently bad about Google Finance that made you give this “thumbs down” vote?

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  46. ambuj,

    i think you should listen to my latest podcast to get a complete low down. i just did not feel like writing the whole thing down anyway. i think you will get a better understanding of where i am coming from.

    http://onpodsessions.com

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  47. You got linked from the official Google Blog :)

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  48. I have to echo the others in that I’m not seeing what’s so bad about it. The flash chart with news correlations is a good way to get a feel for a stock, the design is far more attractive than Yahoos (due primarily to lack of noisy ads) and the real time suggestions are helpful if you don’t know the ticker symbol.

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  49. I think it’s fair to say that Google Finance is still lacking. Yahoo! just seems much easier to use. Anyone actually have Google Finance as their main market portal?

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  50. [...] the new Google Finance, especially the chart overlays and integration with other Google products. I found the new product lacking a few of my favorite features from Yahoo! Finance such as institutional holdings and insider [...]

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  51. [...] the new Google Finance, especially the chart overlays and integration with other Google products. I found the new product lacking a few of my favorite features from Yahoo! Finance such as institutional holdings and insider [...]

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  52. All reviews I’ve read on “Google Finance” aren’t that great. It seems like Google under delivered on this one. Let’s wait and see what they intend on doing about the negative response.

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  53. [...] Like all Google launches, Google Finance is also being hotly debated in the Blogosphere. Om Malik gives his verdict. [...]

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