Google Finance is Google’s excellent and free service which allows you to get a complete picture about investing including quotes, charts, top stories, news items related to certain tickers, stock screeners, portfolio watcher, etc. It is fast, it is simple and very functional. If you were looking for alternatives, there are two excellent options: Yahoo! Finance and Bing Finance.
Yahoo! Finance is awesome because it has been doing all of what Google Finance does, for a very long time, and also provides syndicated content from various other personal finance-related properties. The site is simple, fast and very functional. Bing Finance on the other hand did not have similar functionality until recently. Bing Finance, much like other parts of Bing, has seen functionality ramp up quite well and is now a worthy competitor. Some of the key differentiators in Bing Finance are StockTwits.com streams, Trefis estimates, Seeking Alpha commentary, TheFlyOnTheWall updates and stock comparison.
I was using Yahoo! Finance until very recently, but after the most recent Bing Finance update, I have started using Bing Finance more. Of course there are specific sites you can visit like MarketWatch or TheStreet but those sites do not offer the depth and breadth of features that Yahoo! and Bing offer, and for the most part, the content on those sites does get syndicated into the portallike sites like Bing Finance and Yahoo! Finance.
Blogger was a pioneer in self-publishing. It has evolved tremendously since the time it was purchased by Google and now it is a full-fledged content management platform with all the modern features one needs in a blogging service. However, Blogger has competition from the low-end (simple content-sharing services) to the high-end (full content management systems) and it does feel like they are somewhat stuck in the middle trying to stay true to their original users but also trying to match the features that some of the younger startups are building into their products.
On the low end (and low is absolutely loosely used here), there are services like Posterous and Tumblr. These services grew out of the need for the casual user to share pictures, videos, etc. on the internet rather than for a serious blogger. Both posterous and tumblr have excellent email-to-post features and media gets rendered inline on the website with beautiful themes and galleries. Both have also ramped up their mobile experiences so it is extremely easy to post and view media from mobile phones. I use posterous to post pictures from my phone and sometimes, links to YouTube or other such services. I also have an account on Tumblr but I am just warming up to it. Steve Rubel recently deleted his old blogs and moved to Tumblr and in a blog post he detailed why he did so.
On the high end, it is clear that WordPress is dominating with recent stats showing they power 14.7% of the top million websites, and 22 out of every 100 active domains in the US. WordPress provides excellent tools for multi-author websites and is usually an early adopter of many new API’s provided by popular services like Twitter. WordPress offers self-hosted, open source software as well as a platform on wordpress.com for casual bloggers. Many popular servicees like TechCrunch, GigaOm, etc. run on WordPress and with the support of a thriving ecosystem, WordPress has established itself as a serious content management system in addition to being an excellent blogging platform.
I moved my two personal blogs from blogger to WordPress a few months ago and I like it a lot so far.