Google Finance – Stock Screener Or Search Tool?

Once a go-to place for investors looking to carry out equity research, the Google Finance stock screener had a multitude of features that provided a perfect platform for carrying out both fundamental and technical analysis.

However, the company opted to remove their stock screener functionality and instead replace it with a more pared down, minimalistic approach, with several other key features removed in the process.

In this article, we’ll provide a summary of the changes made to Google Finance over time, and an overview of an alternative for investors looking for a suitable stock screener.

Google Finance – Then vs Now

Since 2017, there have been significant changes made to Google Finance, with it becoming just another tab within the main search engine rather than a standalone application.

Given the increased interest in financial markets globally, Google thought it made sense to incorporate Google Finance into Google search, which gives users more direct access via both the desktop and mobile-based versions.

Traditionally, the application had a variety of features that have since been removed including: 

  • A standalone stock screening tool – This included a variety of helpful metrics that enabled users to search companies, including geographical location, sector, market cap, and dividend information.
  • News stories – This feature took related news stories from Google News, which came from a variety of relatable publications, and embedded them directly into Google Finance. Now there are only a limited number of headlines available from a selected group of large publications.
  • Company overviews – These outlined key fundamentals such as P/E ratio, trading volume, and market capitalization. There was also functionality that integrated key information from Reuters regarding upcoming events, the executive team, and links to other financial news providers. Unfortunately, you won’t find any information on innovative companies that haven’t gone public yet, though it’s important to keep an eye on them. You can often invest in these indirectly, as is the case with Open AI stock and others.
  • A robust portfolio feature – This enabled users to add various companies as part of their portfolio, making it easier to track those of interest and providing real-time price information, as well as allowing users to benchmark the performance of their stocks against market indices such as the S&P 500. The new version includes a more simplistic watchlist feature; however, it doesn’t show the value of your portfolio.
  • Company financials – The older version provided access to the three financial statements of companies: their balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow statement. Now users can only view the income statement and have to search for the other two statements externally.

The former version of Google Finance provided users with a feature set that allowed for deeper insight and analysis, which blended both fundamental and technical analysis. This allowed for a more informed overview of companies across the board, which is the premise of any good stock screening tool.

Whereas the new version is simplistic to say the least, it includes news stories for several blue chip companies alongside macro market news and real-time prices for a variety of asset classes including stocks and FX. 

There is still the option to search individual stock tickers; however, you will only be able to see a chart with minimal functionality, a handful of related stories, and the companies’ most recent income statements. For full charting features, you’ll want to use Trading View, or one of its alternatives like Stock Charts, Trendspider or Thinkorswim.

What Now?

Fortunately, if you’re looking for a similar user experience, there are several providers that offer comparable features. After reviewing several options, we believe that WallStreetZen’s stock screener offers users everything they need in a stock screener.

Firstly, they have a simplistic yet engaging homepage, which allows users to navigate the site efficiently with a clear ribbon at the top outlining the key areas of the site.

Their standalone stock screener is presented as a dynamic dashboard, which provides users the ability to add their own custom filters and apply them to the dataset. Alternatively, there are a range of default filters available such as financials, price, technicals, valuation, and earnings and revenue.

This gives users the ability to filter for company information based on their own personal preferences.

The Finviz stock screener is another popular choice among active traders.

The Final Word

Overall, the majority of long-term users of Google Finance are unhappy with the changes, as it means it has now transitioned from a full-fledged stock screener to more of a high-level search engine.

The change has made their search engine more seamless but has impacted their user base due to the lack of functionality of their finance platform.

Luckily, as mentioned, there is an array of alternative stock screening tools available, such as WallStreetZen, which offer features similar to that of the former Google Finance platform, allowing prospective investors to carry out in-depth equity research into companies’ stocks globally.

About the Author

Cooper is a former equity research professional/finance analyst who holds an MBA in Financial Instruments and Markets from New York University's Stern School of Business. He left the investment banking world in 2015 to become a full-time investor. He contributed to InvestmentZen as an financial product analyst from 2016-2017.

More in Investing