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Google unleashes Google Finance

(Google vs. Yahoo)
We broke the news last August that Google Finance was coming. Well here it is: http://finance.google.com

Here are excerpts from our story tomorrow. The site provides stock charts, news and chat rooms. It makes several improvements on the most popular finance site on the Web, Yahoo Finance.

"It is definitely an improvement,'' said Charlene Li, an analyst at Forrester Research. However, the improvements over Yahoo aren't radical enough to confuse people who are already familiar with the way Yahoo Finance works, she said. ""It's not a mind-blowing improvement,'' she said, ""which is actually an advantage. You already know how to use it."

Indeed, the trick for Google is being just good enough to force users people to try it out.

While Google has begun to pull away from Yahoo as the dominant force in Web search, Google Finance is the latest product to compete with Yahoo's personalized offerings. For example, Yahoo has long provided a way for people to customize Yahoo Finance, so they can organize stock listings in a private portfolio and subscribe to financial news alerts.

Millions of people already are comfortable using Yahoo Finance and other services such as Reuters, and many of them are unlikely to move no matter how stellar Google makes its service, analysts say.

But the battle in finance is similar to others the two companies have waged in the past. They both offer an e-mail platform, an instant messaging service and personalized local news. Yahoo has been pushing a social networking strategy, providing people ways to share photos with Flickr, or to ""tag'' favorite pages with Delicious, for example.

Google Finance appears to mimmick Yahoo's social networking strategy even closer ‰„Ļ by providing a way for people to communicate with each other in chat forums about individual stocks.

Google has even has hired employees to moderate the chat discussions, said Katie Jacobs Stanton, senior product manager at Google. Until now, Google has taken pride in automating most its services.

Furthermore, after providing people blogs through its blogger service, Google recently unveiled another service for people to create their own Web sites. And Google Base, another service, gives people a way to upload goods and services they want to sell. A calendar product is due out shortly.

However, for undecided users, it is one more flashy tool that will help Google win market-share, she said. "Slowly but surely they will get a hook. People will say, 'I'm going to switch over'"

Google's improvements come in several areas. It gives you a way to news corresponding with specific time periods of the stock's movement. For example, if you are wondering why Cisco System's stock took a dip late last year, there will be an icon on a stock chart that you can press on, marking the date of the dip and which takes you to news stories on that date.

"Some of those features are really nice," said Greg Sterling, analyst with the Kelsey Group.

Google lets you zoom you selected date periods manually with your mouse (update: apparently it uses Macromedia Flash for this, which we didn't realize from looking at the static PDF presentation we saw this pm) a so-called "AJAX" feature, or technology that Google has used with great effect in Google Maps. It does so by inserting more information in a users browser, which lets portions of a page can be manipulated dynamically.

Additionally, you can access personalized stock information from a home page that Google lets you customize. Google simplifies searching in other ways ways, for example letting you type a company's name into Google's search bar. Yahoo forces users to find out a company's ticker symbol before allowing a user to search for company information.

Google pulls company news from 4,500 sources that it collects by crawling the Web. Google also struck partnerships with various vendors of company information, such as Hoovers and Revere Data, a San Francisco company.

The company will not put ads on the site in the short-term, Stanton said.

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"Google lets you zoom you selected date periods manually with your mouse, a so-called "AJAX" feature, or technology that Google has used with great effect in Google Maps."

Google uses Macromedia Flash for the stock graphs, and uses AJAX for Google Maps. Two different technologies but with similar user interfaces.

AnonymousCoward on March 20, 2006 10:38 PM
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Thanks, Baze & I were on the phone call this pm with a static PDF version during a presentation with the Google folks, and we were going over it, and we mentioned we liked the Ajax stuff, and they didn't set us straight, so it is our fault for not clarifying.

Matt Marshall on March 20, 2006 10:46 PM
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as of 2:28am EST 3-21-06, the website returns a 404 error

guess it is not ready for prime time yet :-)

mr lawson on March 20, 2006 11:29 PM
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I know it was up earlier, because I went in and saw the page -- we will see what happens later on... They'd embargoed the news until 9pm, and said it would be up "tonight," which meant Mon eve.

Matt Marshall on March 21, 2006 12:17 AM
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www.google.com is down as i post this.

test on March 21, 2006 12:56 AM
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Google Finance just launched. This is an interesting perspective on how Google Finance shows that Google is no longer an innovator


Google Finance Shows That Google is No Longer an Innovator

Jeff Nolan on March 21, 2006 1:45 AM
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the product is not that innovative, but it is going to hurt not so much yahoo finance but all the business media sites like marketwatch, cnn money etc.

bill on March 21, 2006 6:36 AM
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Google Finance
Those who know me know that I have been a particularly strong advocate of Google starting their own Finance page. Well, starting today, they finally have released Google Finance. Personally, I think that GMoney would have been a better name, but that is their call.

One of my best friends works at Google, and I sent him the following e-mail outlining my thoughts on the product:

1) There is no link to portfolio from the front page. The portfolio is "hidden" 2-3 clicks deep. This is a bad design feature. The portfolio, on the other hand, is very elegant and easy to use.

2) The area to click on the letter on the flash charts is too small. You must click directly on the letter, when it is intuitive to click anywhere on the box. I repeatedly "miss" on my clicks and I am a pretty experienced computer user ;-) Please ask them to expand the area to click on the box.

3) There is no logic after you click on a news event that is outside of the "shown" news items. It nicely scrolls down so that the event you clicked on is 2nd to last in the news items. Why did the coders decide 2nd to last? Why not the middle? Or why not keep it at the end?

4) I really do not like how when the user moves to a 6 month view, and scrolls back a year or two, the user does not return to today when click on "1D." This should automatically take you to the current day.

5) The date range on the charts is NOT prominent enough.

6) Before the market opens, I really don't want to see a bunch of "N/A"'s. Show me something meaningful or yesterday's or take it out.

7) You mentioned that a grandma should be able to use and understand everything. Why aren't there links to describe what "BETA," "P/E," or "MKT CAP" are? Where do those numbers come from?

8) Under the management section, I honestly cannot believe how much screen real estate GFinance is wasting on the FULL title of the management's team. 85-90% of people only look at management to see how much they get paid. Yahoo! has it right in the front. That is truly the only thing people care about management. At least put it on the popup box.

9) Finance people are going to hate the inability to download the financial information to CSV or XLS.

10) Finance people are going to be confused with seeing Total Revenue and Gross Profit WITHOUT COGS.

** MAJOR BUG ** 11) For GOOG, the cash flow statements are backwards. On all the other financial pages, you show the quarterly info first, but for SCF, you show annual information the first. In addition, for the company financial box, the WRONG NUMBERS are appearing under quarterly. It is displaying the same numbers for quarterly and annual. I double-checked this for CRAI, and the problem is worse. The SAME NUMBERS are being shown for balance sheet and SCF under quarterly and annual. This needs to be fixed immediately! This can cause major problems for people.


Bottom line: I see no advantage to using this product over yahoo finance. I see many disadvantages. No export for stock prices or balance sheet info.

GFinance should have been AT LEAST as good as Y! finance plus more functionality and easier to use. Allow exporting multiple company's balance sheet or stock info. Have links describing what numbers mean. Have links straight from financials to SEC statements. Integrate analyst estimates into a new section. Allow easy ways to compare company financials.

This falls far short of what it could have been. I think it will be ridiculed in the press. Let's wait and see for the rest of the day.

Nitin Julka on March 21, 2006 7:11 AM
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Google Finance - YAWN!!!

sorry I am still sticking to Yahoo... nothing innovative here.

simon on March 21, 2006 7:53 AM
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May be Google should look at the startup:

It says it Invented better GUI API than Microsoft's Windows OS

anon on March 21, 2006 7:23 PM
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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.

Mer on March 22, 2006 7:35 PM
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I think the site that will win this will be the one that can offer access to all those subscription only articles which are much more valuable then blogger comments. Yahoo just bought some technology that unlocks premium content called Congoo and it was all the buzz the other day. Whoever can provide its community with access to content for free which is unavailable elsewhere will win the finance community war! I invest a lot and Iāve been on everyoneās channel, all I care about is the best information·.the product is irrelevant!

Kevin on March 23, 2006 6:45 AM
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