Google, Microsoft and Yahoo got in the game. Each unveiled separate renditions on search, blogs and mobile to follow the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. The opening ceremonies began Friday.
The Web has brought Olympics fans closer to the action at home, the office or on the go. Yahoo introduced a dedicated mobile Web site to provide people with news, event schedules, stats and pictures. At m.yahoo.com/olympics, fans can get up-to-the-minute access to the Winter Games through live results, schedules, medal counts, news, photos, blogs, and expert commentary. The site provides instant results from all the events, and people can search by athlete and Olympic sport to find information.
And for those lucky enough to visit Vancouver, Yahoo has partnered with augmented reality expert Total Immersion to put consumers in the action. Yahoo's Fancouver exhibit lets passersby insert themselves into the festivities through a digital out-of-home display, with dual windows that use augmented reality face tracking to give fans a different view.
Getting into the action online, Google takes Olympic fans on a snow mobile ride in Street View and Google Earth to capture what it's like on the slopes in Vancouver.
While Google Maps puts fans in the game from the air, the National Hockey League gives hockey fans All-access Vancouver at NHL.com, Facebook has a dedicated page from the Organizing Committee and International Olympics Committee, and @Yahoofancouver lets people follow the Winter games on Twitter, with a link that leads directly to the Yahoo Sports page. The site Twitter-Athletes also lets people keep track of the games.
Aside from real-time search on google.com, fans can log on to Buzz, Google's latest social tool add-on in Gmail, and connect with people who are chatting about Winter Olympic games. Simply open the Buzz tab and search on keywords to find information from anyone creating buzz around a topic, even if they are not part of your network.
Although Beijing brought Olympic fans streaming online video, Vancouver will provide features that allow people to pause, rewind and replay the action during a live broadcast. Microsoft says NBC will use streaming capabilities from Silverlight, the Adobe Flash rival, to provide some spectators with up to 720p high-definition resolution.
In fact, NBCOlympics.com on MSN will provide more than 400 hours of live event competition and more than 1,000 hours of on-demand access to full-event replays from broadcast and host-feed coverage of all 15 sports. It also gives people access to extensive highlights, such as event recaps, best-of montages, commentator analysis and athlete-specific clips, as well as options to connect with friends through Facebook about the videos, and share links through Windows Live, Twitter, Digg, and Reddit.