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The Search Olympics: Bing, Yahoo!, and Google

Athletes, coaches, and fans are gathered in London celebrating athleticism across the world in a variety of events. While Michael Phelps swims for the gold and hometown favorite Mo Farah tries to break the tape in a distance event to give Great Britain its first gold in years, those outside of the games are trying to keep up with the hectic schedule filled with finals, rounds, matches, qualifiers, and heats. Keeping track of the Olympics could be an Olympic sport itself.

Luckily, the Yahoo!, Bing, and Google are finding clever ways to satisfy Olympic cravings.

Bing, as seen above, fills visitors in on current Olympic events before the typing begins. Unfortunately, if your location isn’t set to the United States of America you’ll be privy to an image of horses. Wild horses, not the Olympic kind. Searching for the Olympics returns an inline image of the current medal count, as well as bits of news and the requisite Wikipedia article. It’s passable, but pales in comparison to its competition.

Google’s search page is topped with a doodle modeled after one of the magnificent Olympic events. The curious who click on the doodle will be transported to a page full of content focused around that sport. Images, Wikipedia pages, news, results, and the complete schedule (complete with who’s competing and when) fill the screen. It’s an oasis of information that any enthusiast would be grateful to stumble upon. Unfortunately, the bottom fold of the results are filled with news items about the Google Doodle that was clicked. A bit recursive, but hey, sometimes that’s the search business.

Googling “Olympics” returns the latest news results near the top while the knowledge graph is replaced with a scrollable medal count, and the complete schedule of events as well as an indication of what’s live. It’s been helpful for me to figure out when I should tune into watch the Fencing finals or when I should set my alarm to watch the marathon on the final day.

Yahoo! augments Olympic searches with information and charts from their sports section. What I found most useful was that the images tab is sorted by most recent images. This means if you’re not able to watch a live stream of the games, you could refresh the images section and see the action play out flip book style.

These Olympics I’ve relied on these three search engines to serve me the content I needed most about the Olympics. From start times to results, I’ve been able to glean that information without ever clicking on a search result. I feel bad for all those blogs rushing to deliver results and news as soon as it happens, but if it’s surface level there’s no reason to go below the surface.

So, readers, who do you think wins the search gold?


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