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Instant Stock Quotes

Last year, Google announced that its finance site would obtain free access to real-time share-price updates directly from Nasdaq. Unlike some sites that get their information from third party suppliers, Google will be receiving its pricing information right from the horse's mouth. GE, CNBC and News Corps are all partaking in the same service.

NYSE Euronext couldn't just sit there and watch Google outdo them; they announced in June of 2008 that they would be doing the same.

These days, when nearly every site a casual Web browser is likely to visit comes with an assortment of up-to-the-nanosecond Web 2.0 gizmos and live data feeds, it's just silly to expect consumers to be satisfied with even slightly outdated information," said fool.com contributor Anders Bylund at the time. "Time is money, as the old saw goes, and that's especially true in the lightning-fast equities markets. Price changes happen so fast that a couple of minutes' delay can add up to lost opportunities very quickly."

"Not that The Motley Fool advocates minute-by-minute trading, with your nose pressed to the ticker tape -- but individual investors should have access to the same quality of data that the professionals use," Bylund continues. "And going through the hassle of logging in to our brokerage accounts every time we want a fresh stock quote isn't much more appealing."

On December 4, 2009, Google added another real-time feature to its Finance page: realtime news streams that will update automatically without having to refresh the page. It's similar to the Facebook notifications capabilities. Being able to watch the headlines come up every 10-15 seconds as the stories break will create a new way to consume news in an industry that is trending more and more towards being constantly and instantly up-to-date. However, the news stream will only do its instant updating during trading hours. The real-time news feed will revert to the old static version an hour and a half after the market closes, and start up again 90 minutes before the opening bell.

"Looking at it now, new stories are updating only every minute or two, so I'm not sure how useful this is going to be most of the time," says Washington Post writer Erick Schonfeld on TechCrunch.com. "But when a stock-related story is breaking, it could be very compelling, giving you a sense of how quickly market information is reported."

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