It is fair to say that the Internet has revolutionized many industries, but the financial services industry comes to mind as one that has been most profoundly affected. Thanks to the Internet, millions of investors are able to analyze markets on their own, which has served to disintermediate them from brokers and professional money managers.

Yahoo Inc. (YHOO) started back in 1994 and rolled out Yahoo! Finance shortly thereafter. Google Inc. (GOOG) was launched in 1998 and rolled out Google Finance in 2006. Below is a comparison of both popular financial sites. (Ready to see how good you'd be at playing the market? Check out Investopedia's article, "How Do You Use Stock Simulators?")

The Similarities

Both Yahoo! Finance and Google Finance operate popular financial websites that provides stock quotes, financial market news and general business news. Yahoo! bills its Finance portal as its industry-leading business and financial news product, and the service has evolved from its desktop origins to utilize the mobile internet and mobile apps. Both sites consistently rank among the top 15 most popular personal finance websites and are quite similar in the financial information they provide.

The Differences

Both sites are popular, but Yahoo! Finance is nearly twice as popular as Google Finance. Recent estimates put Yahoo! Finance at an estimated 70 million unique visitors each month while Google Finance is well behind at 40 million. This puts Yahoo! Finance in pole position while Google Finance is number four behind MSN Money (65 million unique monthly visitors) and CNN Money (50 million).

Perusing both websites, Yahoo! Finance has a better look, feel and much more content. Looking at each firm’s 10-K filing, Yahoo! devotes much more time and description to its Finance offerings. Yahoo! Finance has a stated mission to help users make informed investment decisions regarding investments and financial markets. It provides financial data, market information and a wide array of applications to help users obtain detailed and current market information. In stark contrast, Google only mentions Google Finance once by name and mentions it is a Google-owned site that helps it drive advertising revenue.

Google Finance does have loyal followers, however. Some market participants appreciate that it emphasizes stock charting capabilities, which is not a strength of Yahoo! Finance. Google also appears to offer more comprehensive real-time stock market quotes, though Yahoo! does offer some real-time capabilities. Some blogs have criticized Google for inaccurate market information, however Yahoo! has had its fair share of alleged data errors, although none are seen as major and the vast majority of information appears to be accurate and timely.

The Bottom Line

Both Yahoo! Finance and Google Finance are great at offering overall financial market information, stock quotes and investment data, but it appears that the nearly 10-year lead that Yahoo! Finance has over Google Finance shows; the site has more robust data and content capabilities, and displays it in a much more appealing and efficient manner.

At the time of writing Ryan C. Fuhrmann did not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article.

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