Google's Financial Makeover

OK, I admit it: I love Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) . Not the company, mind you, but the site itself. This morning, the search king introduced yet another feature that sent my heart aflutter. Let me tell you why the new Google Finance rocks.

First, its stock quotes contain interactive charts that show historical prices and daily volume, and map news events to heavy trading days. Using Google Finance, I can see that Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) stock closed at $82.49 per stub after 43.3 million shares traded hands on Jan. 18. The volume, Google tells me, could have come from reports that quarterly profit would double on record iPod sales. Sweeeet.

Second, Google Finance's portfolio tool is exceedingly easy to use. When I tried it this morning, opening a position was as easy as clicking a button and entering some rudimentary data. Not surprisingly, the tool is as lightweight as a portfolio tracker, but it will probably please everyone except for ardent spreadsheet geeks.

Now here's the bad news: As cool as the interactive chart is, Google Finance won't do much for you if you are a long-term investor. In fact, nothing Google has now gets close to the wonderfully useful "key statistics" page available for every stock tracked by Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO  ) Finance. What's more, Google Finance -- currently in beta -- takes a lot of its information from partners, including Yahoo! Finance, through which it provides links to research reports. (Full disclosure: Yahoo! Finance is a data provider to The Motley Fool.)

For now, there's probably no need for Motley Fool Inside Value pick Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) or Yahoo! to worry. But it's worth noting that Google Finance is just one of many portal pieces being assembled by the search king's techies. At some point, Gmail, Google Reader, Google Talk, Google Video, Google Local, and, well, whatever else the geniuses come up with will be morphed into something greater. When that happens ... look out.

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Fool contributorTim Beyerswonders when Google will finally rule the world. Tim didn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story at the time of publication. You can find out what is in his portfolio by checking Tim's Foolprofile. The Motley Fool has an ironcladdisclosure policy.


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