Google Now has added support for cricket just in time for the Twenty20 World Cup (a relatively fast-paced version of a sport that can traditionally take up to five days), which is currently being held in Bangladesh until the finals on April 6th.
“Alright, cricket fans—we heard you. Starting today—just in time for the upcoming ICC World T20 in Bangladesh—Google Now supports cricket. You can get live updates on your favorite national teams’ runs and wickets, as well as checking their upcoming fixtures,” Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) wrote in a recent blog post (h/t Emil Protalinski at The Next Web).
Google’s live updates seem well-suited for twenty20
In a sense, Twenty20 cricket and Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) are perfect for each other (at the very least, both have been the cause of wry comments about shortened attention spans). Test cricket takes three to five days to play, and a single player might stay at-bat for hours. Some matches are made up of multiple tests (the Ashes are best of five), and it’s hard to imagine any but the most hardcore fans would want to get live updates of every play for more than a month.
Twenty20 was intentionally created in 2003 to appeal to a broader audience. It takes about three hours to play a game, and teams don’t have the same incentives to play long, drawn-out tactics. While it was meant to introduce new people to the game, it’s spread quickly and a little haphazardly (the previous World Cups were in 2007, 2009, 2010, and 2012), so it’s not a given that a multinational would both know how popular it’s become.
Twenty20 updates were added ahead of other popular sports
It’s not just one more addition to an encyclopedic list of sports that are supported by Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG). Right now, the service doesn’t offer live updates for Formula 1 racing or national soccer (football) teams, though it would be surprising if that weren’t fixed before the next FIFA World Cup.
As smartphones become more affordable and more commonplace in developing countries, the mostly Western companies behind them (Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG), Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)) will need to adjust their offerings to stay in sync with what different groups of consumers are interested in. Clearly the Twenty20 World Cup is the reason for the timing of this release, but the fact that Google was aware enough to include it (Twenty20 is hugely popular in India, Pakistan, and a few other emerging markets) bodes well for the company’s future attempts to connect with those consumers.