Google to launch financial Web site

Google Inc. plans to launch on Tuesday a financial news and information Web site called Google Finance that will be in direct competition with well-established ones such as Yahoo Inc.’s Yahoo Finance and Microsoft Corp.’s MSN Money.

Development of such a Web site has been one of the top requests from Google users, said Katie Jacobs Stanton, a Google senior product manager.

Google hopes to differentiate its site with better search functionality and a higher level of interactivity in its financial charts, she said. The siteis slated to be operational early Tuesday.

The launch of this site is also bound to revive the controversy of whether Google is morphing into a Web portal, a label Google has resisted even as it offers content and services that put it competition with and

Yahoo’s Chief Executive Officer Terry Semel has openly mocked Google’s ambitions to be a reluctant provider of Web portal content and services, saying that in that broader space, it lacks the clout and dominance it clearly enjoys in the search engine market.

Semel will probably notice one effect from Google Finance: Fewer referrals to his company’s financial site. Until now, when a user enters a stock ticker symbol, Google has chosen Yahoo Finance as its default primary link in the stock summary box Google delivers at the top of search results, Jacobs Stanton said. As of Tuesday, Google Finance will be the default, she said. However, Yahoo Finance, MSN Money and other prominent sites of this nature will continue to be featured in Google search results, she said.

Google Finance will include information from public sources, as well as data that Google has licensed from content providers like Reuters PLC and Morningstar Inc. It will include links to news articles, graphs, company profiles, financial tables, blog postings, discussion groups and links to other Web sites. Graphs charting historical stock price fluctuations will include links to relevant events affecting the stock’s value.

Google has no current plans to display ads on Google Finance, she said. All information on the site will be free of charge, a Google spokeswoman said

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