Blog Post

Google Finance Disappoints

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.

53 Responses to “Google Finance Disappoints”

  1. hey Where is the Google all this hoopla

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

    Should have long time ago..

    I think they will overcome..

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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?

  5. 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.

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

  7. Randhir Reddy

    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…

  8. 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.

  9. 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
    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!

  10. 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.

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

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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. ;-)

  16. Jeremy Johnson

    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.

  17. 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?

  18. 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!”

  19. 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.

  20. 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?