updated 3/21/2006 12:21:04 AM ET 2006-03-21T05:21:04

Online search engine leader Google Inc. is devoting a section of its Web site to information about the stock market and corporate America, filling a gaping product hole as it continues to battle for Internet traffic with rivals Yahoo Inc., MSN and America Online.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company plans to unveil its newest channel Tuesday at http://finance.google.com.

Many of the Google features, including stock market quotes and charts, mirror Yahoo’s finance section, which has been available for the past decade.

Yahoo operates the Web’s most visited finance site with 31.4 million unique visitors worldwide, according to comScore Media Metrix. MSN’s Money section ranked second with 21.9 million worldwide visitors followed by AOL’s finance section with 14.3 million visitors worldwide, comScore said.

(MSNBC content is distributed by MSN. MSNBC itself is a Microsoft - NBC joint venture.)

Web surfers spent on average of 54 minutes per visit at Yahoo’s finance section, giving the company more opporutnity to serve up ads.

Although it’s just trying to catch up now, Google believes its finance section eventually will outshine its rivals.

“We feel this is going to change the face of finance sites,” said Marissa Mayer, Google’s vice president of search products and user experience.

Google users have long asked for a finance section, but the company took its time developing the service to make sure it offered something unique, Mayer said.

The company’s twists include more interactive stock charts, quicker access to stories about events affecting a company’s stock price and photos of top corporate executives. Google also is providing links to corporate commentary by the writers of Web logs, or “blogs.”

Once just a search engine, Google has spent much of the past two years offering more services to broaden its appeal. Google places a high priority on attracting more traffic because the company’s biggest profits come from ads displayed on its site.

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