In case you hadn’t noticed the World Cup kicks off today in South Africa. And those lovely folk at Google have fixed it for everyone to travel there, thanks to some special features they’ve added to Google Maps, Street View, and Google Earth.
Google Street View’s South Africa Soccer Stadiums page will give you a pitch-side view of all the grounds, including the impressive Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg, where the opening ceremony and first match take place today. The feature allows you to stand in the center of the pitch and pan around 360 degrees to acquaint yourself with the layout of each venue.
Even more impressive is the 3D stadium view you can access in Google Earth. Simply download this KMZ file, load it up in Google Earth, and you’ll be able to see the location of all 10 venues in South Africa. Click on any of the stadium links in the Places window, and you’ll be whisked off to that ground, where you can marvel at the 3D views, read information about each place, as well as flicking through a gallery of photos and videos taken inside the stadium. Be sure you have the 3DBuildings layer selected in order for this to work properly.
Proving that Google has well and truly gone football crazy, the search giant has also released a World Cup widget, which you can add to your iGoogle home page. The tool displays the latest schedule information, current standings, and the latest news from the tournament.