Google is aiming to make it easier than ever for fans to keep up with the World Cup. Alongside its existing sports coverage tools, there are a host of cross-platform tweaks that will make sure you don’t miss a game after the world’s most popular sporting event kicks off on November 20.
Arguably the most useful addition has been made to how the company’s search engine and maps software lists information about bars, restaurants, and other venues people might go to to watch a match. Alongside business information Google displays as standard, like reviews and opening hours, a small ball and the words “Showing the World Cup” will appear if games can be viewed at that venue.
A multiplayer online game is also being added to Google Search. Users will pick a side while a match is being played and attempt to flick a ball past a goalkeeper. Scores are kept and aggregated, so even if your team gets hammered on the actual pitch, it may still win the Google flick-off.
Navigation app Waze, which is owned by Google, is adding a “soccer commentator” option to its voice navigation. The option can be selected by opening the “Sound” settings and selecting “Waze Voice.” The app will then throw some soccer cliches in with your directions, such as “getting through that defense could prove tricky” when there is an obstruction ahead. Different commentators are also available by region, so there’s a chance your favorite commentator might be sending you in the right direction.
Google’s push to support the World Cup could come as a surprise, considering some of the controversy surrounding this year’s games. Still, the sports coverage offered by Google has always been useful and informative. If you search for your favorite national team, for example, you have the option to click a notification bell in the top-right corner of Search and receive reminders for upcoming fixtures, in-play reports, and results. You can also view highlights from recent games on each team’s Google Search landing page.