Google and ESPN have teamed up to offer video highlights from World Cup matches.
Searches for the World Cup will bring up a screen featuring game highlights, match stats, lineups, and the option to watch game highlights from ESPN.
If you search for “USA vs Nigeria” in Google, you’ll see a screenshot from ESPN’s footage. Clicking on it will take you to ESPNFC.com and WatchESPN.
You’ll also be able to watch highlights even while the games are still progress.
This is a bit of a slippery slope for Google.
For many people, Google is starting page for using the internet. As such it has a lot of control over where they go. For the most part, Google tries to be impartial and direct people to the best resource based on its algorithms.
In this case, it’s choosing a favoured website.
It’s not entirely out of character for Google to integrating ESPN into its product. Last month, Google Maps integrated Uber into its app. If you’re an Uber rider, you can hail an Uber straight from the Google Maps app. And, if you search for a place, Google serves up Google Maps, not, says, MapQuest.
But this is the first time Google has favoured a third-party source that it has a commercial partnership with, Re/Code reports. Though, it’s worth noting that ESPN is the only publisher with rights to the game in English-language game footage in the U.S.
From Google’s point of view, this could help the company strengthen its position as a source of real-time news. For publishers that rely on Google for traffic, it’s worrisome.
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