Google Mobile and the World Cup

by Colm

Development Design User Experience

It has been where I've gone for my real time World Cup match updates for the last three and a bit weeks, without even thinking about it, which means that, for me at least, Google won the World Cup of World Cup Information Provision on mobile...

The use case scenario is perhaps the simplest of all: user opens browser, types w in search field, is offered "World Cup 2014" and accepts.

The simple ones are the best ones. It's not easy to keep things simple you know.

What the user is presented with is the most straightforward, context aware bit of real time information they could get and are most likely looking for.



What's more, they didn't have to ask for it - I am most likely to want to know the scores, right now, in real time. Obviously this was more important last week than it is today, with no matches going on.

What else could I be looking for? Yesterday's scores? A click / swipe away. Group standings? A click away. The path to the final? A click away, The top scorers? A click away. News headlines are a scroll away, player and team profiles within one click, maybe two.


That's pretty good going. They kept it simple.


Google World Cup info regrets? I've had a few, worth mentioning - ok you are stuck for space, but "leaders" is an odd title for Ballon D'Or - top scorer lists. 2nd stage also misses the point a little. Minor points I suppose, though the leaders bit was lost on me for ages.


What else? Well, if you are going to be real time, be real time - if the group tables were updated in real time as the games were on I would never have needed to look any place else once we got to the tail end of the group stage to see what could happen if Germany knocked a few more past USA. This of course might have been something to do with the information they were getting from FIFA, we must assume via an XML Web Service API, but surely there are a few programmers knocking around Google who could have worked out the fairly simple algorithm to make the calculations once they had the live scores.



There were some lovely features in this though. At first I bemoaned the lack of Goal Difference info, but then I stumbled across this simple, responsive feature when my phone slipped a little in the groups section (I rarely tip my phone to landscape in normal day to day use)...



There we are, space now for new columns, more info.  Of course it does that, why didn't I know that from the outset? These are the kind of questions you ask when something so simple dawns on you.

Beyond that, the info on players and teams, in the context of this, one of the best World Cups in many, many years, is all within pretty easy reach.



And, although it does kind of resemble something you might find on an FBI most wanted website, player profiles of all those participating, minus the irritating choreographed arm-folding. I'm largely neutral this world cup, at least since the Mexicans went out, but I'm sure I'm not alone in thinking this guy deserves to own a World Cup winner's medal..