Alphabet-owned Google announced a series of new features on its Search, Maps and YouTube platforms to help football fans across the Middle East and North Africa stay up to date with the Fifa World Cup, which kicks off on November 20 in Qatar.
The new features aim to help users find useful news related to the event, information about matches, venues and routes as well as various fun activities.
“We have seen the excitement locally around the Fifa World Cup this year, especially since it’s being held in our region for the first time,” said Najeeb Jarrar, head of consumer marketing at Google in Mena region.
“This is why we were keen on helping people make the most out of the experience by offering new features to stay up to date with the tournament, discover local businesses and get more insights from matches, so they can continue to enjoy this global event whether they are following virtually or the over 1.2 million people expected to attend in person in Qatar.”
The National looks at the new features rolled out by Google.
Follow tournaments, athletes and teams on Google Search
When football enthusiasts search for “World Cup” on Google, they will have the option of clicking on the bell in the top right-hand corner to receive regular notifications about their favourite matches, teams or players, the California-based technology company said on Tuesday.
Fans using Google-owned Android operating system can also pin the scores on their screen to keep tabs on the matches when they are on.
The search company will also offer detailed statistics related to the performance of teams. Users will be able to track the winning probability of various teams and rate players based on how they think they performed.
There will also be a multiplayer online game in which people from around the world can work together to help their chosen team score the highest number of goals after each real-life match.
Exploring exciting content on YouTube
As some matches are aired at times that may not suit everybody’s schedule, fans can find match highlights and video recaps from Fifa+ and official broadcasters including beIN Sports, linked in Google Search after every game.
World Cup fans from around the globe can also rewatch the most exciting moments of every game on YouTube through the Fifa channel, which has more than 12.6 million subscribers, and official broadcasters.
People can also find exclusive Shorts — a short-form video-sharing platform offered by YouTube — and long-form content for the tournament from gaming creators AboFlah (27.2 million subscribers), Rima (7.02 million subscribers) and lifestyle creator Noor Stars (19.7 million subscribers).
Inside and outside Qatar
To help the more than a million visitors expected to land in Qatar for the tournament, Google Maps now offers more detailed information about transit systems and road closures. Additional information on roads, footpaths across central Doha and points of interest in Qatar have also been added to Maps.
“People can now find the best and most convenient places to watch the World Cup across the Mena region by typing 'where to watch the world cup near me' on Search,” Google said.
“Business owners should review their local rules about showing sporting events to the public before applying the new attribute.”
Those interested in adding the information to their business profile can follow guidance available on the Google business profile help page.