We’re three days into the 2014 World Cup, and it’s turning out to be the online and social media extravaganza everyone expected — and there are some good games as well. Twitter reported that the opening game of the World Cup, hosts Brazil versus Croatia, racked up 12.2 million tweets (I contributed eight of them) from 150 countries.
The best way to participate in the World Cup is to actually watch it, preferably with friends and beer (body paint optional). If you haven’t found it already, Gigaom’s Janko Roettgers has prepared the definitive guide to watching the World Cup online if you’re located in the U.S. or other Anglophone countries. But there are other ways to experience the World Cup from your PC, smartphone or even wearable gadgets. Here are few of the compelling ones we found:
There’s a wealth of information on each World Cup match only a Google search away and you don’t have to click on its links to find it. Google is embedding detailed play-by-play information from FIFA.com into its cards at the top of its search results. What’s most impressive, though, is that it’s partnered with ESPN to include game video highlights directly into the game feed.
While Twitter has plenty of options for following the World Cup, social media marketing agency Harkable came up with something Twitter didn’t think of. It built a web app that tracks the virtual cheers (or at least noise) of team fans tweeting online in real time, pitting opposing sides against one another. The app is embedded below though it’s only active during an actual match:
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So you don’t get up up at 5 AM PT every Saturday to watch the European leagues on cable, but you still want to act like an expert? Mispronouncing the names of some of the world’s most prolific players isn’t a good way to bluff. Luckily Namez has prepared a website and smartphone app that will make you sound like a BBC sportscaster. Cameroonian striker Samuel Eto’o will roll off your lips (it’s easier than you think). Bonus points if you can master the name of Greek midfielder Lazaros Christodoulopoulos.
Facebook has set up a fascinating homepage for the World Cup that mixes tournament information with live updates from the matches and memes generated from sports media sites like SB Nation to the Bleacher Report. A lot of these posts may seem random, but they’re certainly entertaining. For instance, if you wanted to a Vine of Netherlands Captain Robin van Persie in a cape after he scored against with Spain with a flying header, you’ll find it on Facebook’s tournament page:
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Facebook has also created a popularity-tracking page for the superstars of the tournament showing where their social media fans are located. Who knew that England’s Wayne Rooney was so popular in Papua New Guinea?
Yes, I said Google already, but it’s worth mentioning that Google is beaming its World Cup score and stat updates to its Glass headgear, as my colleague Kevin Tofel pointed out last week. You won’t be able to watch a full game or even a video highlight – perhaps that a good thing – but if you want to stay up to date on the latest tournament activity, you can’t beat having data beamed directly to your eyeball.
As for other wearables, there was a surprising lack of new apps to come out for the World Cup – unless you’re a FIFA referee. The match officials at every game will be wearing smartwatches that alerts them when the ball crosses the plane of the goal line.
Of course, this is only a short list of some of the web apps and sites that caught our attention. Feel free to share your favorites in the comments section below.