Here’s How To Get The Most Out Of Online Olympic Coverage

On the 5th August, the 2016 Olympic Games begin in Rio de Janeiro. With 100s of events taking place across 16 days, it can be a little difficult to keep track of who’s won what, who’s on when and why golf is an event this year.

To help their sport-loving users out, all the big tech companies are offering special services and debuting new features. Here’s our rundown of what each company is offering. We’ve also added a medal system, cos it’s the Olympics and all.

DQ – Facebook

Facebook will be publishing “official video highlights” (get used to that phrase) and recap videos. To distinguish the coverage from YouTube, Facebook have a deal with NBC, the US Olympic broadcaster, to post exclusive content which will be downloaded and repeatedly uploaded to YouTube, Streamable, Twitter and Vine until it’s taken down on copyright charges.

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Facebook are cutting down on copyrighted material

One of the big motivations for Olympic broadcasters to partner with social media sites is to prevent copyrighted material appearing on them anyway. Official content will get loads of shares and likes and won’t disappear within the hour.

It’s a pretty neat solution. The reason so many Vines and short highlight videos have been appeared online is that the broadcaster wasn’t providing them. The demand was there.

All eyes are on Facebook Live. Zuckerberg’s obsession this year is live video and Facebook are still searching for an event that makes Facebook Live a commonly used feature. Chewbacca Mom raised the profile, but it’s still rare to see a friend start a Facebook live stream.

Here’s the issue with Facebook’s Live Olympic strategy. They’re not allowed to show live events so they’re going to show big name interviews and pundits’ reactions to major events.

As we all know, that stuff is the dull filler between each event. We’re only watching to see if anything goes wrong. You look at your phone during the boring bits, so why you go on Facebook to watch more?

Wait a minute. Why are we disqualifying Facebook? Yeah, their Live coverage sounds weak but disqualification? Well, they own Instagram. Recent feature reveal, Instagram Stories, is a rip-off so blatant they didn’t even change the name. DQ.

Bronze – Google & YouTube

Google’s first big announcement was to pretend that they’re offering new services that are already available and are pretty much the core of what they’ve done for the past 18 years. Here’s a pic from their announcement blog:

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You can use Google search! Hooray!

Okay, so the first two are rubbish. What they’re actually doing that’s different is interesting. Google’s search changes are pretty much entirely mobile focused. If you search for athletes, events and sports on the Google Android or iOS app, you’ll get a nicely designed results page that gives info on medals won, schedules and world records.

Googlers can also opt in to automatic updates on specific events and medal wins, keeping them up to date on the athletes they care about.

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Here’s Google’s AMP for the Olympics

Here’s that phrase again. YouTube are set to show official video highlights from the games. These highlights will be available in 60 countries, so expect to click on loads of links that say “The uploader has not made this available in your country. Sorry about that.”

We’ve also got mobile livestreams to look forward to from 15 YouTube stars. The names they’ve announced are travel bloggers, sporty trick-shot types and wacky personalities that your kids love for some reason. Here’s one of them.

Those livestreams aren’t going to get insane viewing figures, but they’re going to get committed viewers. Pretty much non-stop comments. YouTube have got unique content that caters exclusively to the youth audience. Who else can compete in this market? Blue Peter?

Google Maps are also getting in on the action with a special Street View option for users that couldn’t make it to Brazil. Special “trekkers” will be making their way around the events outfitted with portable Street View cameras.

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Google Trekkers will be running round, recording it all

Nice idea, but we’re not sure whether it’ll get much use. It’s the kind of thing you send to friends that moaned about not getting tickets. There’s some nice ideas in Google’s offering, but not enough to reach the top.

Silver – Snapchat

The big news is a new Snapchat Discover channel for two weeks. It’ll be the home for all things Olympic, video highlights, interviews, clips of fans. The main focus of the channel will be on individual athlete stories. Expect cult heroes to rise through Snapchat Discover. Our money is on either Marta Menegatti, Italian beach volleyball, or Bartlomiej Bonk, Polish weightlifter.

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No points for guessing which one Bartlomiej Bonk is

We’re interested in how Snapchat are going to handle highlights in 10 second segments. The only race they’ll be able to cover is the 100m.

Snapchat aren’t offering many new features, though they don’t really need to. The app is perfectly set up to cover people’s experience of the Olympics, it’s already ideal for any event.

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NBA star Draymond Green has already made a splash on Snapchat

Silver medal for Snapchat, mainly for Discover aiming to offer another side to the athletes. Less boring interviews, more dog filter snaps of the fastest runners in the world.

Gold – Twitter

Jack Dorsey hasn’t worked out an official partnership for Twitter, but Olympic broadcasters will be tweeting like crazy.

While Snapchat is perfectly designed to cover an individual’s experience of the games, Twitter is built to cover the events. If there’s one area that Twitter always crushes, it’s sport. It’s why they’re making mega-deals to start live-streaming sports.

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Just a few of the flag emojis

Sadly, there’s no event live streaming this time around, though Periscope will have a featured Olympic channel, probably somewhere in between the Google Trekker and Snapchat Discover.

We’ve also got a brand new set of Olympic hashtag emojis to work with. There’s flags for each country (including a special one for the refugee team) and a design for each individual event. Medals are also available with #Gold, #Silver and #Bronze.

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Twitter temporary follows

The biggest announcement is the option to temporarily follow the Olympics. It’s hidden away in the Moments section. Users can follow for the duration of the games, getting a bunch of relevant tweets in their timeline.

This is already a feature, but it’s so needlessly hidden. Hopefully, Twitter pushes it with the Olympics and people start using it more often. It’s the dream feature for events unfolding in real time. Big events, breaking news, it’s ideal.

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Twitter are also providing free wi-fi in each stadium

So that’s your set of social media and search engine features for the Olympic games. Gold medal goes to Twitter for their perfectly designed set of features that will get fans across the world sending millions of tweets.

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