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Search Engines Get World Cup Fever (Some More Than Others)

The biggest sporting event in the world is underway and, if you’re unable to follow along on TV, there’s plenty of coverage of it online — including all of the major search engines and Twitter. Here’s a look at what you’ll find on the web if you’re looking for a football/soccer fix.


Google seems to have been the last to rollout its World Cup information. Earlier today, I wasn’t seeing anything special for searches like world cup schedule, but Google is now showing a list of upcoming matches.


Still, Google is offering far less than Yahoo and Bing (see below) when it comes to World Cup information in search results. Searches such as us vs england and brazil soccer offer nothing new specific to this year’s tournament. Instead, on certain searches involving the term “world cup,” Google has changed the “Gooooooogle” image at the bottom of the search results to “Goooooooal.”


Google also announced earlier this week that there’s new Street View imagery around seven new football stadiums in South Africa, the host country.

Postscript, June 11: Google has announced several online/search features to help fans follow World Cup results.


Yahoo got out in front early on this, announcing a new set of World Cup shortcuts a full month ago. Those shortcuts are all now live. Searches like world cup schedule, us vs england, or germany soccer produce a variety of different shortcuts with World Cup information.


Since announcing these shortcuts last month, Yahoo says it’s already seen a 150% uptick in search volume around the World Cup — and a 25% increase in engagement with the shortcuts.


Bing wrote about its World Cup plans yesterday, which include a variety of Instant Answers and more. Searches like world cup schedule and germany soccer show similar information as in Yahoo’s shortcuts.


Unlike Yahoo, Bing shows no Instant Answer for individual match searches such as us vs england. But Bing has created separate visual search galleries for World Cup teams and players — but these are only available for users in the US, UK, and Canada. Here’s a look at the Australian team’s page:


Bing has also created an app for Bing Maps that offers live World Cup information, but I’m unable to find that in Bing Maps at the moment.


While some are wondering if Twitter is going to be able to survive the global onslaught of World Cup-related tweets, Twitter is pretty much saying “bring it on.” Twitter has announced a special mini-site that features tweet activity around the World Cup in general, with specific pages devoted to individual matches.


Fans can also visit their Twitter settings: design page to get a World Cup-themed Twitter background, and if you tweet with the hashtag of participating countries, Twitter will automatically add a “hash flag” to your tweet, like this:


Twitter has also published a list of suggested accounts that World Cup fans might want to follow directly during the tournament, and created a Top Tweets World Cup account that algorithmically chooses and shares interesting World Cup tweets.

Search Activity

Experian Hitwise has shared some of its data related to World Cup search activity. The press release focuses on the most searched-for players, but I’m more interested in the fact that Yahoo’s World Cup 2010 site received the second-most traffic from World Cup search last week in the U.S. FIFA.com was first at 50%, with Yahoo second at 11% and Wikipedia third at 8%.

Hitwise also says U.S. searches for the term “world cup” have increased 216% in the last two weeks, and the number of terms with “world cup” increased 226% over the same period.

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