I’m with Om Malik — Google Finance underwhelms. The improvements over Yahoo Finance, like interactive graphs, are nice but not transformative. Which is disappointing, because it’s easy to imagine features that would be transformative — or at least a bigger step forward:
1. Company Memetracker
The company tearsheets have mainstream media stories over here and blog posts over there — this is light years behind memeorandum and its Web 2.0 cousins. Google Finance provides a “Related articles” link on mainstream media stories, but it’s hardly dynamic meme tracking, and is completely useless on a day like today when there’s lots of talk about a company.
If you check out the tearsheet on Google, it doesn’t contain any of the massive blog discussion of Google Finance (which of course is dominating tech.memeorandum) — this not surprising, given that the blog content is powered by Google’s crumby Blogsearch.
2. Bull/Bear Filter
The technology already exists to sort content by positive and negative tone. Wouldn’t it be great to take finance vertical search to a new level by being able to search for bullish and bearish coverage of a company?
With the same technology, Google (or anyone) could produce a bull/bear meter to track how positive or negative the discussion of a company is on a given day or over time.
3. Mutual Fund Holding Search
What if I want to find a mutual fund with large holdings in a company, e.g. Google. Wouldn’t it be cool to be able to search mutual funds by key holdings?
I’m just making these up — I’m sure there are much better ideas out there.
Maybe Google has some truly whiz bang features in store. What’s disappointing about the Beta is that it doesn’t make any great strides in Google’s core value proposition: helping me find the information I need.
In a conversation with John Battelle, the product manager of Google Finance, Katie Jacobs Stanton, said:
“We’re up to par,” with the other services.
What a missed opportunity. Just being “up to par” doesn’t cut it anymore. In entering a vertical, Google’s ambition should be to blow away the other services.
Google Finance represents a failure of Google to innovate within a vertical, which leaves the door open for vertical players to get there first (and which should reduce the fear among verticals that Google is going to eat their lunch).