Become a Google Finance Power User: 13 Tips and Hacks

There's a lot more to Google Finance than what you see when you load the page. Here are a few tips and hacks to help you get the most out of your Google Finance experience. You'll soon be well on your way to becoming a power user.

  1. Go Deeper. Whenever you load stock information, you may notice a "Compare" tab. This can be used to track the performance of several different stocks at one time, or to give you a better idea of how different stocks are doing. Just click on the "Compare" tab, and enter in the stock symbol for an at-a-glance view. You can also compare the Dow Jones, S&P 500 and Nasdaq performance using this same feature.

    Compare Dow Jones, S&P 500, and Nasdaq

  2. Start Charting. Google Finance allows you to easily create charts to visually get an idea of how a stock is doing over time. You can customize how your charts appear by clicking on the settings tab. You now have control over the colors that are used, and whether you want to view splits, dividends or volume. A news flag option is also available, which is great for market research.

  3. Look Ahead. Google Finance also offers after-hours stock quotes for several different companies. Be advised that this feature may not be available for all securities, but you can view a delayed quote for most popular and well-known stocks. This feature is provided prior to market opening and after market closing.

    AAPL stock chart

  4. Look Back. You'll have 40 years of archived stock data at your fingertips which can be incredibly useful if you need to really research a particular company, or if you're just curious on how it's performed in the past. To access this feature, enter in your stock symbol and when the chart loads, you'll see a selection of years at the top. Click on how many years you want to view and it will automatically change the graph.

    MSFT stock chart

  5. Plug into the Grapevine. Google Finance now has a section for blog entries that are related to a particular company or stock. This is a great way to stay on top of individual companies or stocks, and you'll have the added benefit of finding out important news ahead of time, since bloggers tend to lead the mainstream media when a story is about to break.

    Blog headlines

  6. Do Some Research. If you're interesting in getting into investing, but you're not sure which stock is worth your time and money, you can use the Sector Summary to get a better idea of how different stocks perform. When you load Google Finance, this will be on the right side of your screen. Click on an individual sector name to load the top movers, most active stocks, and helpful news on that particular sector.

  7. Watch Some Videos. You can now watch the latest commentary from analysts, experts, and other people in the know. At the bottom of the Google Finance page, there is a section devoted to video where you can discover, watch and learn more about the whole stock market.

  8. Interact. You can take advantage of Google Finance's Discussion Groups, which are completely devoted to all things financial. Learn from other power users, get updates on what's going on behind the scenes, and maybe even make some friends along the way. These boards are monitored to make sure that you're getting good information, but as always, caveat emptor.

  9. Use SMS. Google now offers the ability to get stock quotes on SMS. Using your mobile phone, text the stock symbol to 466453 (or just type in Google) and it will return the stock quote. You'll get more than just the stock price, you can also view after-hours data, and you can see how a stock is performing, all at a glance.

  10. Make Your Own Portfolio. In the top right of your screen, you'll see a link to "Portfolios." You'll need a Google account so all the data can be stored in one place. If you have that, all you'll need to do is enter in the stock symbol, and if you'd like, you can also enter in the price and how many shares you own of each stock. The information you add can only be accessed through your Google account and cannot be viewed by anyone else.

    My Portfolio Overview

  11. Get More At Once. Instead of entering in one stock symbol in the provided search box, add in several, separated by commas for a complete view all at once. This is especially helpful if you are watching several different stocks at the same time.

  12. Keep Track of What You've Done. Google Finance has a feature that allows you to see all of the recent quotes you've loaded. If you happen to have your portfolio loaded, these results will be kept separate to minimize any confusion.

    Recent quotes

  13. Import Your Own Portfolio. If you've already built your portfolio online or on your computer, you can easily add it to Google Finance. Select the text of your portfolio, and go to the Portfolio page at Google Finance. You can then just paste in what you copied and select the Preview Import Button. This will help you make sure that everything is correct. You will need a Google Account to use this feature.

Bonus Tip: You can use the Portfolio feature on Google Finance to test out investments before actually sinking your money into the stock market. This is similar to virtual stock games. Just add in the stock symbols for the companies that you are interested in and how much money you think you would like to invest. You can see how it will all play out for you without worrying about losing any money.

These are just a few hints to get you started. As you use Google Finance, you'll find all sorts of new ways to improve how the service works for you. Google is actively adding new features, so this is definitely an area to keep an eye on.

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