Like the 2008 U.S. Presidential Election, the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China are being followed in a whole new way this time around, thanks to the Internet. With the Olympics quickly approaching, we’ll be seeing that more and more people follow the events leading up to the start of the games, and then of course the actual sporting events via the Internet whether it be through blogs, online news sites, or maps. And of course big Internet companies like Microsoft and Google are doing their part to make it happen by creating different sites and services related to the Olympics.

We already know one huge way in which Microsoft will be involved, and that’s with their Silverlight platform. They teamed up with NBC several months ago to build and Microsoft’s Silverlight will be playing a pretty big role on that site. Offerings include:

  • 3,000 hours of on-demand Olympic videos will be available (replays, highlights, etc)
  • 20 simultaneous live video streams
  • 2,200 hours of live event video coverage
  • Full-screen viewing will be available
  • Metadata overlays so users can view statistics, bios, rules, etc.

At this point Google is involved in the Olympics with Google Maps. Just yesterday on the Lat Long Blog, Google announced that they launched an embeddable map (shown below) as well as a Google Earth layer so that users can follow the path of the 2008 Torch Relay. Users can watch as the torch travels from city to city and over oceans to reach Beijing by August 8th.

By pulling up , we found that the Torch was in Istanbul, Turkey yesterday and tomorrow it will be in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Kids especially, could have a lot of fun with this and learn something in the process.

Sources: TechCrunch, Google Earth Blog