Adding to its existing 20-minute-delayed stock quotes, Google last week started making real-time stock quotes available both through its Web site and through SMS (Short Message Service) sent to 46645 ("GOOGL").
"As a Google user, it always bugged me to have to go to other Web sites to get stock quotes," Katie Stanton, a Google business product manager, wrote in the company's corporate blog. "Now we get a direct feed of market data, so all you have to do is type in a ticker symbol like INDU or SUNW and the search results will include the latest exchange and real-time ECN quote, intraday chart, volume and market cap."
ECNs, or Electronic Communication Networks, are private financial trading systems that together process about a quarter of the Nasdaq's volume, according to Yahoo. ECN quotes may differ slightly from official stock market quotes. Yahoo offers free ECN quotes but charges $9.95 per month for streamed actual quotes through its MarketTracker service.
Stanton wrote that because Google doesn't offer more than the real-time ECN quotes and other basic stock information, the site will continue to link to other financial sites, including Yahoo Finance and Motley Fool.
Google also announced in its blog the launch of a Google Labs project called Ride Finder. This service helps people determine what ride service to choose by displaying the location of various shuttle, limousine and taxi companies' vehicles.
"Google Ride Finder takes a new approach to helping users find a ride: showing you where the vehicles are," reads the service's information page. "We work closely with a variety of companies to get this information; then we present it in the form of a map of your area, complete with little balloons--color-coded by company--to represent each vehicle's up-to-date location. Based on this info, you then just call the provider you've chosen to reserve a ride."
Google said most of the ride information it displays is less than five minutes old. It launched a trial, or beta, of the service for vehicles in Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, New York, Phoenix, St. Louis, San Jose, Calif., Milwaukee, Wis., and Washington, D.C. Google said it plans to expand the service throughout the United States and around the world.