rumor is that the search-engine giant plans to launch some sort of financial news site.
The theory being offered by
Search Engine Journal is the latest guess about what the secretive Mountain View, Calif.-based company has got up its sleeve. As is its usual practice, Google responded to the story by saying it is "always exploring opportunities to expand our offerings, but don't have anything to announce at this time."
Because of its big rise since its 2004 public offering, mere mention of Google being interested in doing something is enough to send shudders through a particular industry.
Yet some of Google's moves, including its new Web site-creation tool, Google Pages, have proven to be uninspiring. "I just can't help thinking that this product feels unfocused and underdeveloped -- especially coming from a company such as Google," writes Michael Arrington on his blog
Sometimes the rumors pan out, sometimes they don't. For example, analysts and bloggers had speculated that Google was planning to expand its ability to process payments, putting it into competition with
. On Friday, the company talked about its plans.
"Looking ahead, we want to continue building payment services that meet the needs of Google users and advertisers," write Google executives Benjamin Ling and Tom Oliveri on the company's official blog. "We expect to add payment functionality to Google services where our users need a way to buy online. For us, it's all about bringing our users a better online experience whether they're searching or buying."
Google also signed an agreement on Friday with the National Archives to allow the public to view movies held by the agency over the Google Video offering, which also has been panned by the media for being difficult to use.
But moving into finance would pit Google against one of
most popular sites, Yahoo! Finance, which according to comScore Media Metrix attracted 9.9 million unique users in January.
"The Google Finance channel or complementary search listings must be highlighting either blog or news stories related to stock ticker symbols," Search Engine Journal editor Loren Baker writes. "I'm also guessing that Google Finance Groups threads and possibly even AdWords or Google Local Maps may be included."
Shares of Google fell 98 cents to $377.09.