Yahoo Readies Response To Google Finance

Not to be outdone by Google's newfangled finance site unveiled Tuesday, Yahoo is about to add new information, multimedia, and style features to its existing finance offering, according to a Yahoo source. Among other changes, Yahoo--currently the market leader in the finance category, with 12 million unique visitors last month, according to Nielsen//NetRatings--will make the stock charts more dynamic, and the site will start incorporating sound, motion, and video.

One of the most distinct features of the new Google Finance site is its incorporation of Flash technology to create more dynamic stock charts than those that are currently on Yahoo Finance. Google Finance visitors can chart the daily ups and downs of a particular market just by scrolling over its name. Likewise, they can chart a stock's trajectory over one to five days, one to six months, or several years by dragging a slider, which also determines related news headlines that appear next to the charts.

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Google's site is also unique for its absence of any advertising--for the moment. "Text ads are definitely a possibility when we're sure we have the right product," said Katie Jacobs Stanton, a senior product manager at Google. "Rich media is not something we're considering in the short term."

By contrast, Yahoo Finance considers its marketing partnerships an essential part of its offering. "Along with balancing our relationships with users and advertisers, the most important thing for us is making sure we're relevant to marketers," said Richard Kosinski, category head for business and finance at Yahoo. "We have to provide marketers with the best solutions, and part of that is helping them understand user behavior on our site."

Google also offers users the ability to search for stock quotes either by a company's name or ticker symbol, while Yahoo requires users to use the ticker symbol. Google Finance users also have access to information on privately held companies, as well as blog posts from Blog Search and Google Group posts.

"We consider the inclusion of blog posts to be a major added value for readers, helping them to understand why stocks are performing the way they are," said Google's Stanton.

Google Finance is licensing company summaries, excerpts from financial reports, and management lists from Reuters, Hoover's, and Morningstar, among other source companies. But, contrary to various media reports on Tuesday, this is not the first time that Google has licensed content, Stanton said.

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