I love Google. I called them the day they turned on their PPC product and have been advertising with them ever since. Every single online advertising plan that I've developed since that day includes Google Search because it performs. I also love Yahoo and especially Yahoo Finance. It is still the premier spot on the internet today for reaching people and professionals in the finance category (Yes as part of my own company Eric Frenchman LLC, I still buy a lot in the finance category).
Anyway, I saw this announcement on the revised Google Finance page with accompanying YouTube video release and I really think they should just forget about it. Google Finance is just not relevant and according to Hitwise there is very little traffic as compared to the rest of Google's products; the number is 0.07% of Google's traffic. If it wasn't for the release and subsequent pickup in the blogosphere I wouldn't have known about it. Why? Doesn't even come to mind.
The category leaders like Yahoo Finance, MSN Money, Street.com, Motley Fool have their niches and reasons for visiting them. Organizing quotes, news, and charts has been around forever and just because you slap an Ajax interface on it doesn't change what you get which is trends, patterns, and news. The video release lists these 4 items on a blackboard as key updates:
- Better Home Page - Hate to say it but I prefer Yahoo's Finance page because I get a less cluttered one, key statistics, videos, and quotes. Google's homepage has way too much information that an average investor would find as overkill.
- Up to 40 years of Data - Again that's just great but what does an average investor do with that? That type of information is for professionals or quant jocks. See this screen shot for AT&T's chart set at maximum. What are you going to do with that (please no professional or quant jocks need answer that).
- Improved portfolios - Nice, but umm, they have been out there forever
- Importing portfolios - Umm, I wouldn't point out that you didn't have that in the first place
The biggest issue is who is the target segment for this? The average investor, professionals, stat junkies, all of the above? I can't figure it out. If you want to bring finance to the masses and democratize the data, I'd like to see a simpler approach with more organized news, video, professional commentary, and even research. Heck, even though I got into a big debate over BloggingStocks.com I think they at least tried to have a different approach of bringing a different set of datapoints to the party.
Back when Google Finance launched in March I gave a luke-warn review and I still see it that way. It has some nice Ajax functions, but at the end of the day I think Google will eventually shut this down because there just won't be enough traffic or advertising dollars to support this. At the end of the video, the product engineer says "they will do a better job of helping you find and organize your financial information". I agree that Google works best when they organize data that is unorganized, unfortunately for them, this data has been well organized for years and no amount of Ajax can change that. On a side note, I do agree with fellow MarketingProfs blogger B.L. Ochman that using YouTube to issue a press release is a brilliant idea.