First Thoughts on Google Finance: All Whiz, No Bang

Google has finally launched Google Finance, its Yahoo Finance slayer. While it’s nice to see Yahoo Finance get some more competition, so far there is little here (yet) to cause a cross-service stampede.

GFinance’s graphing feature is its most distinctive aspect, with an interactive interface that borrows heavily from Google Maps to permit draggable graphs with continuously variable time scales. You can, on the fly, zoom in and out of periods, all the while having the graph be annotated with headline stories attached to the stock timeline. The latter feature is a little strange, but maybe I’ll get used to it.

The rest of the service — quotes, news, and the requisite portfolio manager — is serviceable, but fairly generic.

Overall then, GFinance is clean and nice, but it definitely leaves me wanting more. This feels more like a Macromedia product demo — long on whizz, short on bang — than a data-drenched Google product. Maybe I’m missing something, however, so feel free to let me know.

[Update] Interestingly, a ticker search in Google proper itself still sends you off to Yahoo for the company specifics.

[Update^2] It’s also interesting (if a little confusing) that a search for a non-ticker keyword in the GFinance search bar leads either to a list of companies containing that word, or to Google’s guess as to a list of companies representing that industry or product area. A search for “cars”, for example, gets you to a list of automakers and their tickers and share prices; a search for “search” gets you to a much more mixed up set, ranging from Google to Oracle. A search for “chips” however doesn’t bring up a list of semiconductor companies (or snack makers for that matter), but a list of companies with the word “chips” in their name.
[Update^3] Those crazy kids at Google. Where it doesn’t matter — over on Google News — they don’t run blogs alongside the professional media stuff. But where it does matter — in Google Finance — blog stories are right alongside major media outlets. I wonder what they’re planning to do keep the market manipulators away. Because I can just imagine the conversations:

“Alice, before coming down for dinner I saw a story on Google Finance that a small former mining company based in Vancouver is buying Google and Microsoft and Oracle — and the stock only trades for $0.18!”

“Oh, that’s interesting dear. Maybe we should buy some tomorrow after mall-walking.”

[Update^4] More here from Danny at Search Engine Watch (who is fairly positive), and here from Markoff at the New York Times, who divulges that Google employees (the poor bastards) are going to police the Google stock bulletin boards. 


  1. gross! flash quotes. yuck. i want fast charts more than i want interactive charts. and why is the google finance top page so narrow? the flash part really surprises me, google has so far stuck to browser-stack technologies for its key features. yikes, this is a total disaster. yahoo finance is in no danger.

  2. Yeah, while I wouldn’t call it a total disaster, it sure doesn’t feel like much more than a finger-in-Yahoo’s-eye “me-too” either. But hey, as I’m sure someone will remind me, it’s a Google free pass — I mean beta — so it can only get better.

  3. It seems you’re being unnecessarily negative. This really doesn’t deserve praise or criticism. There is not much a service like this can provide over other services, except aesthetics and extra information sources. For google it just fills out their information portal. It’s just a matter of preference for users. Most yahoo users won’t switch, but loyal google users who usually went to other sources would most likely switch to Google Finance.
    By the way, there are personalization features, and a porfolio section. And the charts works pretty fast.

  4. Color me different. I really like it. And I don’t like most Google stuff. I never could get used to Yahoo’s barrage of information and ads and so stuck with Reuters or Bloomberg desktop apps. This won’t drag me away from those but I’m more apt to use Google than Yahoo. The news/stock chart integration is huge for me. I like to understand what has happened historically and this is a quick way to do that.

  5. “For google it just fills out their information portal.”
    i.e. place anything up there, it all helps…
    Good god, you don’t run a website do you? Please say you don’t.
    The graphs are fantastic – I love the news / spike A,B,C feature – but there’s not much else here.
    Is this just a receptical for lucrative finance ads? It looks like it.

  6. Not a bad start. Not sure they should have
    rolled out the pictures in the management
    summaries though. First one I checked they
    had the CEOs pic associated with one of the
    business development VPs (who was also
    considerably older).
    Everybody go check their pics….

  7. Actually, I kind of like it too. It’s not going to blow anyone’s socks off, but those interactive charts are something Yahoo Finance should have had a long time ago — MSN Money has had something similar for years.

  8. fartikus says:

    mathew ingram – yahoo once long ago did try out java-based charts, in 99 or 00 if i recall. i stick to my story, once the novelty has worn off, people will get very tired of waiting three seconds for a chart to load. yahoo does a lot of stuff wrong, but yahoo finance is one thing they do right. go beyond charts, look at financial news, stats, etc, yahoo has 10x what google is offering.

  9. It may be a sign of the apocalypse, but fartikus and I are on the same side of this one. The graphs are nice, but they’re not enough to drive a GFinance stampede.
    Put differently, no-one’s arguing that this isn’t solid stuff overall. Instead, the issue is that this is incremental, not tranformative the way that Google Maps was, or the way that GMail has been. Granted, “transformative” is a high standard to which to hold Google, but without some genuinely new ideas, why bother with a me-too finance portal in a crowded market?
    Bottom line: I’m as much of a fan of new stuff and novelty as the next guy, and these are whizzy graphs, but it just isn’t enough to meaningfully dent the market.

  10. I know it’s fashionable to be skeptical of Google, but I just don’t think there is much stickiness to stock searches that keeps folks at Yahoo Finance. It’s just the lack of alternatives.
    The think I spend most of my time doing on Yahoo Finance is trying to figure out why stocks move (usually based on news). I think Google Finance is a step in the right direction (except for the blog part, of course)

  11. Derrick —
    Fair points. I actually agree with your “news-driven moves” point, and attaching stories to the stock timeline is an interesting step in that direction.

  12. The news story thing is great, but I wish they had a longer archive. It seems to only go back to about mid 2005.