Doug McIntyre of 24/7 Wall St tells the sad story of Google Finance, which despite having many cool, innovative features and a humongous butt-kicking parent, still has a pathetically small user base. How small? According to McIntyre, it’s in the same league as SmartMoney and FastCompany.com, about 700,000 users a month (fine for a ported print magazine, awful for a global web behemoth). This compares to a user base of 12 million at AOL Finance.
McIntyre has several thoughts on this unfortunate state of affairs, and we agree with his thesis: Google Finance is apparently as big as its parent wants it to be.
How could Google drive more traffic to Finance? By adding a permanent link to the front page (in addition to the one in the scroll-down list). Google’s religious obsession with keeping the front page “clean” has long outlived its usefulness. We’re not suggesting Google make the front page look like a NASCAR hood. We are suggesting it make it easier to find/access some of the awesome tools and content it has built. Many mainstream Internet users don’t want to start with “search.” Adding permanent links wouldn’t be evil–it would just be a lot more convenient. (Please, comment away on how you would immediately boycott Google if it ever did anything so commercially crass. We suspect it’s a load of hooey, but it will win you instant applause.)