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Every four years

It only happens every four years…

You know what I’m talking about. Either you are a soccer fan, and you are excited that the World Cup is taking place as I type. OR, you might be a mildly irritated American (no one else in the world seems to mind), and you’ve already had enough of “the soccer.”

Either way, you can’t avoid it. The local and national nightly news, America’s sports bastion ESPN, late-night talk shows, and even Google are showcasing the World Cup on a daily basis.

It’s not just that the sport is the most popular in the world (with the World Cup garnering somewhere between 250 million and 330 million viewers in 2006; compared to 100 million watching that year’s Super Bowl). But it retains that “not every year” kind of allure held by sporting events like the Olympics.

 World Cup scores and schedules

For those who want to get the intel without watching 90 minutes (or 270 minutes a day for all three first round games), Google has created a special widget. Type “World Cup” and you’ll be served with the normal organic results, along with a “Latest Matches” block at the top of the SERP.

As Google explains in its official blog, “So when you complete a search related to the World Cup, you’ll see live scores, latest results and match schedules at the top of your search results. You’ll also find TV broadcast information and quick links for game recaps, live updates, standings and team profiles. The feature works on all Google search domains in 44 languages, including Afrikaans, Amharic, Swahili and Zulu.”

Pretty nifty.

But I don’t think it starts and stops with the World Cup. It’s a good debut for this widget, which I think this is yet another search experiment by the folks in Mountain View. It works well for sports, but a similar search result tool could be applied to just about any national or international news event. And with the perfection of Google Alerts and Caffeine, the most popular search engine is continuing to put a new shine on “relevance.”


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