Paul Sawers was a reporter with The Next Web in various roles from May 2011 to November 2014. Follow Paul on Twitter: @psawers or check h Paul Sawers was a reporter with The Next Web in various roles from May 2011 to November 2014. Follow Paul on Twitter: @psawers or check him out on Google+.
Unless you’ve been holed up in a cave somewhere these past few weeks, you’ve probably noticed that a special sporting event is kicking off in the UK tomorrow.
Yup, the London Olympics is getting underway, seven years after the UK capital won the rights to hold the prestigious contest. It’s expected that almost five billion people around the world will tune in at some point to watch the Games, and Google has jumped on the bandwagon by putting together a new online hub for the occasion, at google.co.uk/olympics. Though it seems it’s not available to everyone globally, including those in the US.
The hub will incorporate updates, results and other key content covering the 16-day event – for example, it looks like you’ll be able to track all the medals as they’re awarded on an interactive map.
Google also provides a handy Google+ guide to all the teams’ social networking activity for the event – so if your country has a Google+ profile, you can follow it directly through this page:
Google has also embedded a timeline feature powered by Google Earth, which shows how the city has evolved from 1945 through the development of the Olympic venues until today.
Furthermore, Google also makes it easy for users to change their profile photo to the flag of their country…if you’re really keen to show your patriotism:
Some of the functionality is really rather superficial though – for example, when you click to learn more about the key events, it simply takes you to a Google search result of each event. But I suppose the whole purpose of this site is to promote its range of online tools, so why would it produce fresh content, right?
In addition to all this, Google also provides a guide on how to easily search for the outcome of key sporting events through the Olympics.
For example, you can search from your desktop, phone or tablet for [London 2012], enter a country team such as [Team GB], or a sport like [archery], and you’ll see up-to-the-minute details such as the schedule, medal count, and Olympic records in the search results.
So, this is a portal that pulls on and promotes Google’s existing products – from YouTube and Google+, to Search and Google Earth.
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