1. Computing
Wendy Boswell

Google Finance

By March 21, 2006

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Google has rolled out another offering in the form of Google Finance, which I'm assuming will attempt to compete with Yahoo Finance. More about Google Finance from the Official Google Blog (I've included a few random snippets):
"To begin with, you no longer have to remember a ticker or mutual fund symbol. Just search for a company or mutual fund by name and you'll quickly see all the relevant information." Note: This is not something that is available over at Yahoo Finance; you have to know the ticker symbol or look it up in their help menu to find information quickly.

"You'll find interactive charts that enable you to zoom through different time periods, headlines mapped right on the charts and are based on Google News, which means you're seeing unbiased and relevant results from more than 4,500 English-language news sources. And you'll get insightful comments from bloggers about public and private companies, plus Discussion Groups moderated by enthusiastic community advocates, which should foster some quality exchanges about the companies you care about." Note: I'm not so sure that including blogs and discussions boards as part of the financial advice Google soup is such a good idea; there's a lot of room here for some major mis-information.

Here's a few more jots of info about the new Google Finance service:
  • Google News will be used in the financial news ticker.
  • Google Blog Search will funnel blog postings about financial topics over to Google Finance.
  • You can look up management info; "Mousing over an executive name shows you their picture as well as links, where available, to their biography, compensation details and trading activity."
  • You can create a Google Finance Portfolio to keep track of all your financial stuff (you need a Google Account).
  • You can get multiple quotes at the same time, but you have to know the ticker symbol in order to use this feature. I'd like to see this changed in the future to just company names, because most people probably don't know the ticker symbols of multiple companies off the top of their heads.
  • Only North American finance is covered at this time, but plans are in the works to expand that.
Overall, I think that Google Finance has some solid potential - I wasn't bowled over by this newest offering, but the time was way past due for Google to throw its hat into the virtual finance ring.

Related: Speaking of fun with money, why not track some freely accessible public records online? Or you can play around with FirstGov, the United States government's massive search engine that allows you to get under the hood of hundreds of different government databases.

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