Fresh Facing Yahoo Finance

Yahoo upgraded its popular finance ( pages today, introducing new charts, adding features to its message boards, and making way for more user-generated content.

The portal giant unveiled an application programming interface (API) for bloggers and Webmasters who want to add Yahoo Finance badges to their own sites.

Director of product management Judy Hsieh also told there are plans to further incorporate user-generated content into Yahoo Finance by integrating it with Yahoo Answers later this year.

New features introduced today include full screen charts, the ability to add competitors and indices for benchmark comparisons, and customizable time periods.

The charts also feature the click and drag functionality similar to the type Google Finance introduced earlier this year.

Hsieh recognized Google as a competitor and said she doesn’t mind if users do some comparison shopping.

“We’ve seen a lot of offerings from competitors and we feel very comfortable saying that our new charts are the most comprehensive and the most user-friendly tool for the investor today,” she said.

She also noted Yahoo Finance’s continuing dominance of the field, an assertion qualified by comScore as recently as May.

The new Yahoo Finance “badges” allow bloggers and Webmasters to include Yahoo-branded charts and other financial data on their own Web sites with Web 2.0-looking modules. Hsieh said they are the result of Yahoo hooking directly into US exchanges.

Yahoo also upgraded its Finance message boards, allowing users to filter message posts based on a one through five star ratings system. Yahoo also changed its message boards to allow for threaded discussions.

In a bit of irony, a search on Yahoo’s filtering feature using Yahoo’s stock ticker, YHOO, raised a popular post to the top with a subject line, “How to Protest YHOO Board Changes.”

The post explains how disgruntled posters upset with the changes can proclaim their displeasure by ranking the same post with five stars.

A quick perusal of the message boards seem to reflect user displeasure with the slow loading time of the new boards.

But then, there are also complaints about the Chicago Cubs to be found on the boards, so the quality user-sample is difficult to gauge.

Displeased or not, users can expect more changes to how they are expected to generate content for Yahoo Finance.

“Our plan in the second half of this year [is] to be able to integrate Yahoo Answers into Yahoo Finance,” Hsieh said.

Yahoo has made no secret of its plan to leverage social search technology in its on-going competition with Google.

Yahoo Answers appears to be a hit with users. Yahoo spokesperson Melissa Rische told that unique visits to the site went up 27 percent in May.

“Given the trend of social media in the industry, you have evidence in the marketplace that people do have the desire to share opinions, to share thoughts; they want to have a voice on the Web,” Hsieh said.

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