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2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa: The Ultimate Guide To Digital Delight

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Today’s the big day. TechCrunch turns five years old. And oh, there’s a huge football – no, not ‘soccer’ – event kicking off in South Africa too.

Many of you will be missing the opening match(es) while you’re out celebrating our birthday and 5 years of change on the Web all over the world, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to catch up from your mobile phone, or look up what went down on the Internet when – or if – you make it back home.

Here’s our ultimate guide to how you can keep track of all things World Cup 2010 on the Web and/or through mobile applications. Sure, Mike Butcher over at TechCrunch Europe already posted a few pointers, and Nicholas Deleon from CrunchGear tried to compile an exhaustive list of websites, apps and podcasts as well.

But frankly, those guys are amateurs. I know you deserve better. So here goes.

(deep breath)

INTERNET GIANTS
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Microsoft

Microsoft has detailed its plans for the World Cup two days ago.

Bing Instant Answers aims to bring you all the latest details, the schedule, upcoming games, live scores group standings, and more. The results will show in the U.S. and 30 other countries (why not everywhere, we have no idea).

Redmond also lets you visualize the World Cup teams on Bing.

There is also a Bing Map App that will be displaying FIFA live data on Bing Maps, including team fixtures, results, news, photos, venues, a Photosynth hub for World Cup images, and a Twitter map that will display all of the World Cup related tweets.

Finally, Bing has released a South Africa Bing Map imagery update, so you can see the stadiums where all the games will take place.

Google

Google is making it easy to keep track of the schedule and groups – just run a search for ‘world cup’ and the basic info will be displayed right on top. Also, there’s a cute easter egg to be found at the bottom, just in case you weren’t aware yet.

YouTube sports a custom logo for the occasion (as does Google Search), and is shining a big spotlight on the World Cup on its homepage, too.

Google also announced earlier that there’s new Street View imagery around seven new football stadiums in South Africa (see them in 3D here).

Update: more from Google: a Chrome extension and an iGoogle Gadget. The company has also look at some internal resources to see what they could “uncover about the upcoming tournament and its global audience”.

Yahoo

The logo on the Yahoo homepage today is animated for the World Cup kick-off, and leads to the company’s sports vertical, where Yahoo will be keeping track of news, photos, videos, results etc. Yahoo is also featuring shortcuts to relevant links when you enter certain search terms (e.g. world cup schedule).

Yahoo has also launched a skinnable, themed toolbar (see Flickr) and has signed a deal with David Beckham to function as its brand ambassador and whatnot.

Facebook

Facebook today posted its ‘guide to the world cup’. The company is running a global competition to see which country has the most passionate football fans – you can check out the leaderboard here (Chile is winning right now).

Facebook also has some official broadcast partners that enable users to share status updates and comments while you watch the events live on TV by using Facebook’s Live Stream social plugin. Partners, by country, are listed in the blog post and here.

Also: polls, a heads up for charity 1GOAL, and a promotion of the EA SPORTS FIFA Superstars app, where you can build your own dream team and challenge your friends.

Other than that, Facebook is touting its Connect, Like, Share and Recommend features.

Twitter

The folks over at Twitter have added a custom World Cup theme to the gallery stable, and have put together a dedicated section where you can see a list of upcoming matches and more.

Evidently, you can go to the site to see Top Tweets, which are algorithmically selected tweets and retweets about the World Cup that Twitter deems most interesting.

You can show your allegiance to one team using a special hashtag. Find out what it is for the country you’re cheering for, use it, and you’ll see the corresponding flag in your tweet. Click it, and you’ll be redirected to the special Twitter World Cup pages built for said country.

Finally, the suggested user list now boasts a special section for World Cup-related staff picks.

Fun third-party stuff: Tweetmeme’s World-Cup-News.net, Cuptweets and Kosmix’ Tweetbeat (see our earlier post).

MySpace

MySpace put together a World Cup page which brings together live video from Univision, video clips from Fox Sports, a Tweetbeat widget with World Cup Tweets, photos, team badges, social games, and a petition to bring the World Cup to the U.S.

Gowalla

The location-based service has a number of special things going on to commemorate the World Cub. First, if you check-in anywhere and include “World Cup” in your comment, you’ll get a special “Beautiful Game” pin. Second, if you happen to be in South Africa for the game, the opening match (and closing match) venue has a special stamp. There are also special stamps for some of the big matches like South Africa vs. Mexico and USA vs. England.

Gowalla also has a featured trip around South Africa. There are also plenty of soccer ball items hidden in various places around the world (think: soccer fields).

And finally, a U.S.-based soccer team, the Seattle Sounders, has partnered with Gowalla to make a World Cup Pub Crawl (11 bars), as well as some special venues to watch key games.

AOL

They aren’t doing anything special as far as we can tell, but at least they have a special site section for the World Cup (powered by Fanhouse).

Opera

If you use Opera Mini, the company’s mobile browser, on your phone, head to sports.opera.com to find a special section on the World Cup.

Hitwise

Also worth noting: Experian Hitwise has shared some of its data related to World Cup search activity. Brazil soccer star Ronaldinho received the second-highest percentage of searches, with 5.63 percent, followed by U.S. soccer star Landon Donovan, with 4.24 percent. Spanish-language players dominated the top 10 results, comprising eight of the top 10 spots.

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.

JibJab

Ok, not an Internet giant, but gigantically funny: personalized your own little JibJab football match video.

SPORTS SITES
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Yes, plenty of news and sports sites will feature World Cup coverage in articles, photos and videos. But these are some of the sites we think will be most interesting to visit during the next few weeks of football craziness:

FIFA.com

The International Federation of Association Football, commonly known as FIFA, should be prepared for the wave. Its main website evidently is all about the World Cup today and in the coming weeks, and it’ll be the main source of information for many, many people scouring for information on the Web. It also helps that most of the major search engines are including links to the site in their custom search results.

Tip: register and log in to personalize the experience.

Nice touch: a Twitter-like live stream of information and links.

Yahoo Sports

We mentioned it before, but Yahoo’s Sports vertical has a dedicated section on the World Cup where you’ll find news, photos, videos of the event and more. Also, a fantasy football game.

Goal.com

Quote: “Almost three years on since the first match of qualification. 204 teams. 848 matches. 2337 goals. And it’s finally come down to this.”

Yes it has, and Goal.com is ready for the flood of news and information hungry visitors. Here’s a direct link to World Cup coverage.

SB Nation

SB Nation, a fast-growing network of fan-centric online sports communities also features a special World Cup 2010 section.

You might also want to check out Fantator, which keeps sports fans everywhere updated on what is happening in all the matches.

MEDIA SITES
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ESPN

ESPN has a special World Cup 2010 website. Everything you need to know is and will be on there, and you can play the World Fantasy game to enhance the experience.

Others

Evidently, most if not all media organizations all across the globe are reserving special sections on TV, in print and online for the World Cup 2010. We’re sure you know best which local publisher will be providing the best coverage in your country, so we’re going to let you decide that on your own damn self, but here are some of the more familiar names:

BBC, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, The Times, CNN, The Sun, NBC Sports, ITV.

MOBILE APPLICATIONS
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IMHO, the Goal.com application is top of the bill. Apps are available for Nokia (S60 5th edition), iPhone, BlackBerry, Android and Windows Mobile smartphones – get them by visiting http://m.goal.com/app directly from a mobile browser. Or just use your mobile browser to head to m.goal.com.

Here are some others, per platform, all of them free of charge.

iPod Touch / iPhone

- ESPN 2010 FIFA WORLD CUP (iTunes link)
- AP 2010 World Cup Coverage (iTunes link)
- World Football Live! (iTunes link)
- SOUTH AFRICA 2010 TRACKER (iTunes link)
- many more, just search for ‘south africa’ or ‘world cup’ from the App Store

Android

- WORLD CUP NEWS (AndroLib link)
- World Cup Essentials (AndroLib link)
- The Sun FOOTBALL – WORLD CUP (AndroLib link)
- AP 2010 WORLD CUP COVERAGE (AndroLib link)
- again, many more, just run a search for ‘world cup’ from Android Market on your handset

BlackBerry

South Africa on BlackBerry (link to BlackBerry App World webstore)

Nokia

- AP 2010 World Cup Coverage (Ovi Store link)
- Football.co.uk World Cup 2010 News (Ovi Store link)
- The World Cup App (Ovi Store link)

Windows Mobile

World Cup Application (via WMExperts)

FOOTBALL VIDEOS SITES
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Ready for it?

FootyTube.com, Videosoccer.net, Mysoccerplace.net, Oleole.com, Givemefootball.com, Soccerclips.net, video.football.co.uk, Goalsarena.com, Footy-boots.com, Goalvideoz.com, Mightyfootball.com, Footballclips.net, 101greatgoals.com, Football-spot.com, Footballtube.com, Timesoccer.com, Footballwired.com, Goaljunky.com, Thefootballtube.com and Footballvids.org.

We hear some of those, as well as Roja Directa and Iraq Goals, will be live-broadcasting some of the games, but we didn’t tell you that.

PODCASTS & RADIO
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Sirius XM is broadcasting all the games of the World Cup live, so listen in.

The Guardian also has a free podcast, World Cup Daily, that CrunchGear says will absolutely be worth downloading.

They also say World Football Daily is another great (but not free) podcast that will be bringing the thunder during the tournament.

Also check out ESPN’s Soccernet World Cup Podcast, The Independent World Cup Podcast and that of the Daily Mail (and here’s some more if you’re not satisfied yet).

Bonus: “How to organise that World Cup pub crawl” via Drinksin.com.

Ok, what did I miss? (Not that I’ll be updating this post, I’m too psyched for the opening match that’s about to start – but at least people will find more useful links in comments).

Also, I say Spain is going to win the tournament. You can quote me on that.

Betting on another team? Get over to Smarkets and let’s see what your bets are worth.

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