Google hop aboard the Tour de France with HTC

The HTC-Columbia team cross the line in the Tour de France

I wrote earlier about using Google Earth and the Tour de France KLM map overlay to follow the race, and mentioned that Google had come on board the HTC-Columbia team as a sponsor.

It’s not just sponsorship apparently, it’s a ” technology and marketing collaboration”. As you can read in the press release below, Google, HTC and High Road Sports (the company that own and runs the HTC-Columbia cycling team), “Google is encouraging Press, TV and web developers to take the data and build rich applications that make use of the data at this year’s Tour de France.”

The only thing I could find so far is the Follow Team HTC – Columbia on Google Maps page on the MyTracks site. I’ve asked Google for more information on this arrangement, the announcement from High Road Sports is light on detail.

I asked Google for more information on this announcement, only to be told it “don’t have a statement available as this isn’t a Google announcement.” Odd I think, given it’s their tech, and an employee is quoted.

I also find it this odd:

Google is encouraging Press, TV and web developers to take the data and build rich applications that make use of the data at this year’s Tour de France. The read only API can be accessed through the contacts listed below.

This a bare two days before the race actually starts? By now you’d think that press and TV are all hands just keeping up with events as they unfold, rather than noodling around with some new mapping tech.

Press release

Here’s the press release emanating from High Road Sports:

High Road Sports announces a new technology and marketing collaboration with Google Inc., supported by partners HTC and SRM, that brings a worldwide audience further inside the experience of racing in the Tour de France.

Fans and viewers will be able to follow Team HTC-Columbia riders in real time with speed, heart rate, power output and other data provided by SRM, presented and enhanced with Google’s leading applications – Google Maps, Street View, Google Earth, Android, and My Tracks.

As the title sponsor of Team HTC-Columbia, HTC has worked closely with SRM, Google and High Road’s technical team to develop HTC Legend smartphones that operate with HTC Sense with Android™ 2.1. These smartphones will collect real time racing and location information and transmit it wirelessly to Google’s servers. The phones run Google’s mobile application ‘My Tracks’ which reads the racing data directly from the SRM sensors on the bike. Racing information is then enhanced with Google’s leading applications and made public to all interested viewers and users via API’s made available by Google.

Google is encouraging Press, TV and web developers to take the data and build rich applications that make use of the data at this year’s Tour de France. The read only API can be accessed through the contacts listed below.

“I’m thrilled about the opportunity to leverage Google’s My Tracks application to deliver real-time racing information to fans watching the Tour de France,” said Dylan Casey, Product Manager at Google and former professional cyclist with the US Postal Service team. “This is a unique, engaging way to help cycling fans all around the world get a sense of what the riders go through during each stage of the race and follow the performance of the world-class riders on Team HTC-Columbia. We’re fortunate to work with such great partners – High Road Sports, HTC, SRM, and ANT+ – to make this possible.”

“Professional cycling is such an advanced technical sport and we’re excited for Team HTC-Columbia to be embracing innovative wireless and location-based technologies like Google’s My Tracks and HTC smartphones to deliver unprecedented rider data to the team, media and cycling fans around the world,” said John Wang, chief marketing officer, HTC Corporation.

“Google and HTC are ideal partners to further develop the sport of cycling and present it to a worldwide audience in an engaging way,” says Owner of HTC-Columbia Bob Stapleton. “The interest of such innovative partners is very encouraging and we look forward to continuing to develop this project in the future.”

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