With the FIFA World Cup 2014 fully involved in the Round of 16 sudden-death playoffs, Google Search continues to be inundated with search requests connected with the lively and exciting tournament matches being held in Brazil.
So far, the most searched for players are Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Neymar, according to Jenise Araujo, a Google spokeswoman, in a June 27 post on The Google Official Blog. "With more than 1.2 billion searches and counting, World Cup fever continues in Brazil and around the world," wrote Araujo. "This week, we're taking a special look at the top search trends from throughout the tournament so far."
Ronaldo is "taking it to new heights on the search charts," based on his performance in the tournament so far, she wrote. "Topping longtime rival Lionel Messi and rising icon Neymar, Ronaldo proves all you need to win in search is serious dribbling skills, a chiseled jawline and a unique haircut (although the reason behind his hairstyle may be pretty heartwarming … if true)."
Topping the "most searched goals" category so far is Robin Van Persie's flying goal, Messi's first goal and Team U.S.A.'s Clint Dempsey's fast goal in the U.S. 2-1 win over Ghana, according to Google. "A World Cup is only as good as its goals—and we've seen a couple of doozies this time around," wrote Araujo. "Robin Van Persie's leaping header made him an overnight Internet sensation, while people were excited to see that Messi got his groove back after scoring his first World Cup goal in eight years."
The "most searched matches" so far have been England vs. Italy, U.S.A. vs. Ghana and Brazil vs. Mexico, according to Google. "Searchers were eager to watch England and Italy's clash for Group D dominance (spoiler alert: both teams got the boot) while the U.S.A.'s match against Ghana took second place in search," wrote Araujo. "Rounding out the top three, we're pretty sure Guillermo Ochoa's stellar performance and totally convincing impression of a wall was what made the Brazil vs. Mexico match a hot one."
In the "most searched celebration" category, Daniel Sturridge came in first, followed by Neymar and the team from Ghana, according to Google. "It was a dance-off on the trends charts as Daniel Sturridge's wave won over the crowd ahead of Neymar's funky jig," she wrote. "But our personal favorite has to be the Ghanaian national team's collaborative routine after star striker Asamoah Gyan scored a goal to take the lead in their match against Germany. We just love an ensemble!"
In the end, not all of the attention on Google Search was lavished on the World Cup players and teams themselves, wrote Araujo. In the "most searched wives and girlfriends" category, singer Shakira came in first, followed by Irina Shayk and Fanny Neguesha, according to Google. "It's not really about football unless you mention WAGs ('wives and girlfriends' of players)," she wrote. "Amongst leading ladies, Colombian singer Shakira steals the search show. And after her partner, Spanish defender Gerard Pique, and his team suffered a World Cup collapse, it just might be a good thing she's the center of attention. "
In June, Google unveiled several World Cup-centric search features that will give soccer-crazed fans all they want to know as it happens, according to an earlier eWEEK report. As users type in simple searches for terms such as World Cup or World Cup USA, Google Search will automatically now provide soccer fans with team lineups before the match, live scores, and up-to-the-minute information about goals and player statistics. Also beefed up just in time for the World Cup are Google Trends services, which give live rankings about the players, teams and moments that are the focus of the games in real time.
Google is also celebrating the World Cup 2014 competition by presenting a detailed Street View gallery of the 12 stadiums in Brazil that are hosting the games, giving fans inside views of the facilities. In addition, there's a related Street View gallery of colorful images of public streets that have been painted to commemorate the games. The painted streets are one of Brazil's tournament traditions.
Google's World Cup 2014 features follow its other activities in the world of sports in recent years. In February 2014, Google Street View expanded its imagery for cities and towns in the host country of Russia just in time for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games to help Olympics fans vicariously explore some of the sites they were watching on television and online during the events.
The Olympics are a huge draw for Google users, according to an earlier eWEEK report. The 2012 Olympics were ranked seventh in Google's Zeitgeist 2012 listings of the most popular global and U.S. searches for 2012 using Google Search.
In July 2012, just in time for the Olympic Summer Games in London, Google added new high-resolution images to Street View that featured highlights of Olympic venues in the city. The images included photos taken from high above at the Olympic Park and Village being used for the games. In some images, the final construction touches can be seen as they were being added to the open-air Olympic Stadium.