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Google launches its own financial site

Search giant hopes flashy features will help lure away some of the Yahoo Finance faithful. Screenshots: Google takes up finance

Google on Tuesday launched a beta version of Google Finance, a Web site aggregating information about companies and mutual funds that features an interactive chart correlating news and other events with stock price spikes and falls.

Charts can be changed to show stock activity for different time periods by clicking and dragging, and they can be zoomed in on to get more detailed information. News stories that correspond to specific days are displayed on the side and are automatically adjusted to reflect the selected time period.

People have been able to get a stock quote by typing a ticker into the Google search bar. Now the Google Finance page will be one of the top links on the results page when a ticker is typed in the search bar.

Google Finance includes links to news about public and private companies, a personalized area for keeping track of stock quotes for select companies, related news that automatically displays news related to the tickers searched on and a portfolio section for keeping track of companies a user is researching or trading. It also has charts that show the volume of news stories for a particular company on a specific day as well as company facts, summary, financials, management and related companies and links to outside news and finance sources.

Google Finance also incorporates blog postings, as well as discussion forums that have improved algorithms and ratings, and moderators to oversee the relevancy of the message board postings.

The free service was the brainchild of several Google engineers in India who were looking for ways to improve financial information search, said Katie Stanton, a senior Google product manager. Google also wanted to address user surveys that found that financial information was an area the company lacked an adequate offering in.

"I think it's a good move for them. I've long wondered when they were going to get that whole thing put together," said Danny Sullivan, editor of Search Engine Watch. "This is related to the idea of organizing information and helping people understand what's going on. Not to say that the other players out there aren't any good."

Yahoo Finance has a large and loyal following. Other financial news sites are and

Asaf Buchner, a financial services analyst at JupiterResearch, said advanced features and an easy-to-use interface could help Google compete with rivals that have been around much longer.

"I think they saw that Yahoo Finance plays an important role in consumers' decisions on buying and selling stocks, and I think it has significant traffic," he said.