Real Time Stock Quotes – Google Finance

Wow..its finally here. Google Finance announced that real time stock quotes (from Nasdaq listed securities) are now available on their site. This is really a fantastic change in the way the average consumer can access news and information that directly helps them invest in the stock market.

Over the past year, a majority of the large financial news sites have been wrestling with the question as to whether they should jump on the Google Finance / Yahoo Finance / AOL Money and Finance bandwagon and provide real time stock quotes for their consumers. Other smaller sites in the finance vertical hemmed and hawed at the proposition in that:

First, it is very expensive to purchase the real time data from Nasdaq ($1m+ a year; not a trivial expense for most financial websites that are breakeven at best). This expense obviously favors the large portals and their ilk who can afford to pay the price of admission to Nasdaq, thereby seemingly gaining a competitive advantage in the arms race to provide better/faster/more accurate news/data/info to the US/International consumer/investor

The second consideration most financial news sites wrestled with included: its not a trivial exercise to build and deploy such data sets on one’s site (ie the decision tree goes something like this – should I build and deploy real time data for a very small sliver of my site’s user base – the active investor – and in the process delay other valuable product launches for 6-12 months, or do I not deploy and potentially lose X% of my user base to G/YF/AOL/DJ who are all presumably building out this functionality?

While Nasdaq enabling real time favors the “big dogs” in the short term, in the long term, its incredible news for the average investor. Access to real time data for the average consumer creates transparency and insight into pricing (similar to what the large institutions currently possess) and ultimately a more liquid exchange and securities market.

Its not hard to imagine that consumers will soon have ubiquitous access to corporate bond pricing, treasuries, etc in a more accessible and timely manner. One day, if my prognostication runs true, the average investor may even be able to participate in IPOs in a more robust fashion?

In parallel, there is a big push in the consumer finance space, to provide real time quotes for forex. Further access to this market will help grow the investor base (which historically leans towards the more “sophisticated” institutional investor). A common set of “currency tickers” is being discussed as well as a 24/7 trading and pricing platform that the “average investor” can participate and invest.

Keen to see what mashups, products and services become available with the real time offering that Google heralded as well as the offspring offerings from this movement towards transparency and equality for all?

Update: after checking out Nasdaq’s site, it appears from their site that only MarketWatch, Barrons, WSJ, CNBC and Google Finance are currently participating in the Nasdaq Last Sale (NLS) service. I am sure more sites will launch in the coming days/weeks?

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