Google Apps Ninja Stories #3: Google Lookup

Part 3 of my Google Apps Ninja Stories: Using Google Lookup and Google Finance to create dynamic spreadsheets.
Written by Christopher Dawson, Contributor

No matter how good Microsoft Excel 2010 might be, there are certain features of Google Spreadsheets that make it particularly useful simply because it's natively Web-based. The latest in my Google Apps Ninja Stories series shows how to create dynamic spreadsheets based on web search queries. This is, after all, Google, and whether you like Apps or not, most of us will agree that they've pretty well figured out search.

Google Lookup is actually a function within Google Spreadsheets.  It goes hand in hand with Google Finance, another search function focused on (surprise!) financial data.  The syntax for each is simple:

  • =GoogleLookup("entity", "attribute")
  • =GoogleFinance("symbol", "attribute")

Google Finance now also supports historical data using additional attributes. According to Google's help documents,

The GoogleFinance function now has the ability to show historical data. This provides an easy way to track the performance of any stock over a certain time period.

Use this function:

Syntax: =GoogleFinance("symbol", "attribute", "start_date", "num_days|end_date", "interval") where:

  • "symbol" - stock symbol
  • "attribute" - high, low, open, close, vol, or all (quote also works, and defaults to close).

  • "start_date" - the date for the historical data. When only the start_date is specified, the historical data is just for that day.
  • I've embedded a spreadsheet below demonstrating the functions:
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    The Lookup functions, which together include "GoogleLookup", "GoogleFinance", "GoogleTranslate", and "GoogleTournament" aren't perfect. I managed to kick out some Kanji with an embedded query and looking up the Google ticker yielded "GOOG Nasdaq" which I couldn't feed into Finance. However, the tools themselves are a great idea and have a lot of potential uses.

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