Photo: JD Lasica
Google Finance is the rare blot on Marissa Mayer’s record of hits as an executive at the search giant.The notion behind the site was simple: People were already searching for stock ticker symbols on Google.
Why not just give them stock quotes, instead of making them click an extra link to sites like Yahoo Finance?
It was a playbook that worked perfectly in maps, letting Google zoom past Yahoo Maps and AOL’s MapQuest.
And Google had an expert in-house: Katie Jacobs Stanton, who had previously run Yahoo Finance for three years.
Stanton is a genuine products whiz—she even got awarded a patent related to displaying news related to a company’s stock price. (Stanton is now a top executive at Twitter. Mayer, now Yahoo’s CEO, is reportedly trying to woo her back to Yahoo.)
But Google Finance didn’t go anywhere. In 2009, the New York Times noted how it was struggling against competitors like AOL and Yahoo.
In March, 24/7 Wall Street made a similar observation. Yahoo Finance’s audience had doubled over the previous three years to about 40 million unique visitors. Google Finance’s had grown from 1.2 million to 2.6 million visitors.
That’s not a knock on Mayer or Stanton. Clearly, Stanton was successful at building a huge franchise at Yahoo. Google just didn’t—and arguably still doesn’t—have the cultural sensibilities needed to build what’s fundamentally a media product. Stanton and Mayer smartly moved on to other projects that were a better fit with Google’s strengths as a deep technology company.
Google CEO Larry Page has been pulling the plug on a lot of little-used products. Could Google Finance be on the chopping block?
Right now, Karolina Netolicka, a software engineer and product manager, appears to be running Google Finance. Aside from a redesign last year and the addition of some new national stock exchanges, not much has happened recently.
Yesterday, in a wistful-sounding blog post, Netolicka announced that Google Finance would no longer be updating its own blog.
Thanks to everyone who has been a loyal reader of the blog over the last five years. After some consideration, we’ve realised that we’re just not generating enough content here to warrant your time, so we won’t be posting here any longer.
Instead, we’ll start contributing to the Inside Search blog, so tune in there for updates on Google Finance.
Update: A Google spokesperson shared this with us about Google Finance’s place at Google:
We view it as part of Google Search (similar to other features like Google Images). We typically don’t detail our org chart, but Search overall is headed up by Amit Singhal.