Google offers a host of great online products (gmail, Google Earth, calendar, Google Scholar, maps, etc.) and I have grown to love two in particular: Gmail and Google Calendar. When at home I use Mozilla Thunderbird as my email client, but when away from my computer, I forward all my mail to a Gmail account for easy reading. The alternative would be using my school webmail, which can take minutes just to load my inbox.
The other day, I found another great Google product. I had been using Yahoo! Finance to track stock and ETF quotes, as well as get financial news (some of which I blog about). The problem was that I used Yahoo! Finance plus a somewhat organized Word document record of my stock trades every time I wanted to check on the status of parts of my portfolio. I could always view my portfolio status online at Zecco, my brokerage, but their format for displaying my equity positions was confusing. It was not their fault entirely. My biggest position I had bought at another brokerage then transferred to Zecco. As a result, it was nearly impossible to track the history of my portfolio.
This is where Google Finance comes to the rescue. Using the username and password I already used for Gmail and Google Calendar, I quickly input all the information about what I owned and the price at which I bought it. Now, Google Finance clearly displays the cost basis for every position, its market value (using real-time quotes), the change (in dollars and percentage) for the day and for its life in my portfolio. Additionally, news stories concerning my stocks are updated throughout the day and I even like Google's interactive charts better than Yahoo!'s The one advantage of Yahoo! is that it provides better personal finance columns and news, but I am glad I found this simple tool from one of my favorite online empires.