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Nike and Google launch 216

hpcanswers writes "Given the increasing popularity of social-networking sites among the young and affluent, Nike has introduced a new site dedicated to the world's most popular sport: soccer. While Nike provides the content (via its army of sponsored athletes, among others), Google provides the technical expertise. Orkut has been very popular in soccer-crazed Brazil, so Google may be able to make a brand extension here. is currently invite only, though a form at the bottom of the home page takes requests for invitations." I actually found the launch of a site like this interesting not because of the content, but because of the trend in "private label" sites. It's a Shake'n'Bake Social Network, and you helped make it.
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Nike and Google launch

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  • For too long, ve let liars and cheaters make a fool of ze site. Enough! I am ere to remind ze world zat zis site is about skills, heart, Honor, joy, team spirit. Mes amis I need your help, togetzer we can make it beeutiful again. Beeutiful! Watch zis space.

    Oh, and check out the latest FIFA rankings, USA is ranked shockingly high!

    • So today, I don't have mod points and this didn't come up for meta-mod. Lovely. Just want to second that this is not off topic in any way.

      Nike launched an ad saying 'something was coming' this is the something.
  • by Rude Turnip ( 49495 ) <valuation&gmail,com> on Monday March 20, 2006 @11:55AM (#14957079)
    I haven't purchased a Nike product for well over a decade due to their use of sweatshops in Asia. It would seem to me that Google would be indirectly supporting Nike's disgusting business practices by providing the tech support in this venture.
    • by Lev13than ( 581686 ) on Monday March 20, 2006 @11:58AM (#14957107) Homepage
      I haven't purchased a Nike product for well over a decade due to their use of sweatshops in Asia.

      Why is this a bad thing? If I'm going to buy a wicking running shirt, I'd like it to be made by someone who understands perspiration.
      • Yeah, if only Steve Ballmer went into making "wicking running shirts".
      • I think it's time for slashdot to have a +1 (Bastard) moderation.
    • Mod parent up, please.

      This is the first thing that crossed my mind when I heard 'Google and Nike'.

      No, not everyone at Nike is evil, but the company has proven again and again that they will employ sweatshop labor and child labor. Those making decisions at the top of Nike are apparently making evil decisions.

      The China thing is a good contrast here. Google has adequately supported their reasons for activity in China. They're up to providing the people with as much information as they can, and are working with
    • Google also releases software for Windows.

    • There are sweatshop all over Asia and it's not Nike's fault. Nike is just like all other global corporations utilizing those resources that are available.
      At least those people have jobs and can feed their families (although with the population problem over there, breeding is debatable).
      • Wow.

        So... you're in favour of slavery too? Or you would be, if it was still around and everyone had slaves? After all, if everyone has slaves, it's not your personal responsbility, right?
        • I'm not in favor of slavery and those workers aren't slaves anymore than they are children of ambitious/needy parents that need money.
          They are paid employees.

          It is not Nike's fault those people are in the situation they are in. If they really feel oppressed, they should stand up to their oppressor and take over but they're not.
          • Are you utterly retarded? It would be perfectly possible for Nike to build and maintain their own factories in these countries where they enforce fair working rules and environments. But they don't.

            It is Nike's responsibility as supposed human beings to prevent sweatshop attitudes.

            • Nike is not the cause for sweatshops or child labor.
              It exists as a resource just like local water/coal supplies are nearby for power companies.
              Because that resource exists, Nike can use it to manufacture their product and have a competitive product.

              I don't think that Rockport, Keds, Reebok, Converse, BK, and cheepie no-name brand manufacture their shoes in an uptown skyscraper in Manhattan on the 53rd floor. Their shops are probably right down the street from the Nike factory or maybe even the 3rd shift i
              • Of course Nike is the cause. Every single company using sweatshops and every single consumer that purchases items made in a sweatshop is the "cause".

                Just because others do it, doesn't mean that it's right. But your logic already allows you to equate human lives with lumps of coal, so I doubt very much that your moral compass will wiggle at all when you think about this.
                • I'm not sure where your moral compass is pointing being that you seem to have it in your mind that millions of 'sweatshop' employees would be better off starving and homeless.

                  I fail to see how Nike is the cause and not any other shoe or textile manufacturer. Do you wear shoes and if so, where are they made?
                  How is buying a wooden pair of clogs from the Netherlands from a kid who carved them any better?
            • The main fallacy here is ignoring slow change. I can't answer the questions *now*, but the questions that interest me are:

              Is Nike offering better conditions *in comparison to other area industries*? Are those conditions so good that academics are leaving to work at these plants (as a seperate post pointed out with an Intel plant)? The key here is to raise the bar, but not to be disruptive about it.

              Is the condition around Nike's factories been improving? Are the employees seeing an improvement in their stand
      • I have to admit I know nothing about Nike's sweatshop issues. But when you say there's nothing they can do about sweatshops, you're full of shit. With their purchasing power, they can easily force their suppliers to improve working conditions. This is something many other companies have done, in response to consumer pressure.
    • The Maquila Solidarity Network, one of the leading sweatshop activist organizations, stopped targeting Nike in 2003 because of their changing business practices. A December 2005 review [] of the current status of 25 companies' labour practices places them 2nd in terms of their efforts to address labour abuses.
    • ahh yes the Nike lies pop up once again.... in reality. Nike did not own those factories (subcontractor that they nailed to the wall after it came to light) In fact they had numerous civil right leaders as well as UN ambassadors verify the much better working conditions that were the standard and not the exception to Nike. All told, they could do more, however in reality there factories were never as bad as what was claimed I havent bought a nike product in 10 years, but that is simply because i think t
    • While I agree with your point - and I too have successfully boycotted (sp) Nike for as long as I can remember - I want to comment on the "between the lines" story here:

      What's really interesting about this article is that we are seeing the Tip of the Iceberg in what could wind up being a powerhouse of technical services offered by Google.

      Just like the Google hosting.

      I had been predicting (to my self and a few friends only) what I was expecting to see from Google as the logical steps in their development:

  • by toupsie ( 88295 ) on Monday March 20, 2006 @11:55AM (#14957080) Homepage
    It's not Soccer, it's Metric Football.
    • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Monday March 20, 2006 @12:06PM (#14957180)
      No. It's just football.

      For fringe group sports that go by the same name, you add the nation or region that practices it. Like AMERICAN football.

      (Waiting for the flamebait-modding to roll in) :)
      • by gfxguy ( 98788 ) on Monday March 20, 2006 @12:11PM (#14957229)
        No flamebait modding here (and I do have points) - I agree 100%.

        Let's see if I can make this clear: in just about every country that plays this sport, played almost exclusively by kicking the ball with your feet, it's called "foot" ball.

        Here we have a sport played almost exclusively with your hands. It's called.. uh... "foot" ball. Brilliant.
      • I think you'll find it's Association Football.

      • Or you could just call it ("American football", that is) what it really is - Rugby with some extra armor worn by wussies who're not disciplined enough to play the game without needing it. ^_~
      • Funnily enough in Australia the word "Football" can mean any one of four things: Soccer, Rugby Union, Rugby League, or Aussie Rules. It never means Gridiron (or American Football). To figure out which football someone means you have to read in context. However you're right - we mostly use the sports by their actual name but when "football" is used in an international context it usually means soccer.
    • Who the hell modded this as informative???

      Why would it be metric football? There's a 6 yard box, an 18 yard box, the penalty spot is 12 yards from the goal (which is 8 yards wide, by 8 feet high) etc. Sizes are admittedly often also quoted in metric, but this is simply because much of the world doesn't understand imperial measurements, and as a result you end up with silly measurements like a goal that is 7.32 metres wide by 2.44 metres high, but the original sizes are quite definitely imperial.
    • Let's just call it Football Where A Bunch Of Guys Attempt To Kick A Round Ball as opposed to Football Where A Bunch Of Guys In Protective Gear Keep Crashing Into Each Other. That would make it really easy for everyone, and nobody would have any problem with determining what the other person is talking about.

      Instead of - Soccer-themed social networking website, you could say - Football Where A Bunch Of Guys Attempt To Kick A Round Ball-themed networking website.
    • Soccer:
      Eh? Never heard of it. (This not ignorance on my part, it is a health issue, apparently there are places in the UK where you can get beaten to a bloody pulp for even uttering that word).

      A game that is usually played on a rectangular grass field with a goal at each end using a round leather ball. Football involves two teams of eleven players of whom one player in each team is the goalkeeper. The goalkeepers are the only two players on the field allowed to touch the ball with their hands. The
      • This not ignorance on my part, it is a health issue, apparently there are places in the UK where you can get beaten to a bloody pulp for even uttering that word

        Yeah, but you'll get beaten up there for whatever pretext they can come up with.

        I know rugby fans who insist on making the distinction between Association football and Rugby football.
  • A new website has been lauched, dedicated to fairplay soccer:
  • by truthsearch ( 249536 ) on Monday March 20, 2006 @11:59AM (#14957121) Homepage Journal
    Google provides the technical expertise.

    Is this becoming a threat to "traditional" web development companies like the one I work for? Will Google be eating up development work for some of the larger sites?
    • Is this becoming a threat to "traditional" web development companies like the one I work for? Will Google be eating up development work for some of the larger sites?

      You have no need to worry if your company writes applications which some day make it out of beta.
  • This seems like a first for google (at least in my observation), specially since all the other services they offer are very broad. For example gives news of all types, gives maps to the whole country. But this stands out since it focuses on a paticular group of people, soccer fans. Of course this could be simply because this is done jointly with Nike.

    Then again, maybe they will do the same for football, tennis, videogames and so on and in no time everyone will be included. Sp
    • "For example gives news of all types, gives maps to the whole country."

      You could add Jabber (Google Talk) mapping [] to the bunch, which is closer to social networking, such as this is, than Google Local.
    • You are not going to get much bigger an audience. Aside from the USA and a very small group, the whole world plays this game and they call it football, not soccer.

      Perhaps not everyone is enthusiastic - but that still leaves you a few billion who are. It is a global link from S America, Australia, Middle East, Europe and everywhere else. The World Cup is not named after some forgotten newspaper. It concerns the whole world - except, perhaps the USA.

      • The World Series isn't named after a newspaper [] either. Blame 19th-century sportswriters for their overly-grandiose statements, then watch the World Baseball Classic [] final tonight to know whether Cuba or Japan is truly the world's best baseball power.

        Beaten at a game we invented*. Man, now I know how England feels.

        * If the true inventors of baseball wanted to play, England would have sent over a team of schoolgirls to play rounders. They didn't.
  • Football (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 20, 2006 @12:01PM (#14957133)
    It's football, you American clods!
    • Re:Football (Score:2, Interesting)

      by pryonic ( 938155 )
      I always wondered why the Americans refer to it as football when you spend most of the time carrying the ball. At least in football (as in what the rest of the world plays) you use your foot to control the ball...
  • And it's not metric football, it's fútbol.
  • What's is my best surprise when I start looking the page? the website is based on microsoft technology, only see the pages format -> .aspx (ASP .NET)
  • strange stuff (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    This is a strange animal, the help center is python [], but the login is aspx. WTF??.. the privacy is googlishm (is a Google Account).

    Looks like a special Orkut server mixed with Google stuff. The nike reference seems casual.
  • Superb marketing!

    No "" for Google Sports instead they use "". The 'g' in joga stands for Google like Gmail stands for Google Mail!

    Oh you marketing overlords I am at your service.....

    • G-Spots has already been claimed as the working title for Google's marital aide service.

      I mean, we wouldn't want any confusion between that and G-Sports, would we?

      Also, note that this service does not have Americans as its primary target market... so why use the English word "sport"? How about G-Deportes?
  • "While Nike provides the content (via its army of sponsored athletes, among others,..." ...and entered at $0.02/hour by kids in Vietnam
  • New tagline (Score:5, Funny)

    by Rob T Firefly ( 844560 ) on Monday March 20, 2006 @12:11PM (#14957235) Homepage Journal
    G o o o o o o o o o o a l!!!!!!!!!!
    • G o o o o o o o o o o a l!!!!!!!!!!

      Considering that the site is .aspx, I'd rather replace that final l with tse.

      Fortunately (for them), the site is invite-only for now, and the login technology seems to be Google Accounts based (i.e. not .asp).

  • that this site looks terrible? The layout and color are horrible!

    - Andrew
    • Nah, it looks ok to me. It doesn't have thousans of links on one page - which immediately turns me of. The colours are a bit dark, but not too bad. It isn't overload with adds. What more could you want?
  • Yoga? Joe-ga? Least make it something easy to spell please folks otherwise its going to get very confusion...
    • Well,

      If they got the name JOGA from the portuguese verb JOGAR (== to play), you can say JOH-GA, with an very open sound.
    • You just made my day. Thats like being russian and saying the english word 'cloud' will never be used because it is difficult to understand.

      Keep up the good work!!!
    • Least make it something easy to spell please folks otherwise its going to get very confusion...

      At least use proper grammar.

      How much easier to spell than a 4 letter word that contains two consonants and two vowels, and no 'i before e' or silent letters?

      If this were actaully an english word it would probably be in a grade 2 spelling book. In fact, it is probably in grade 2 spelling books across Portugal and Brazil.

  • by smaerd ( 954708 ) on Monday March 20, 2006 @12:22PM (#14957314)
    ...this could be bad... nay.. this could be the worst. thing. ever.

    Commericials will be changed forever.


    [VOICEOVER (John Lithgow)] : Meet David Random. Today David will walk a total of twenty-five feet. But just because he'll barely get out of his chair doesn't mean he won't be active. David will correspond with thousands of people, write seven hundred lines of code, recompile his kernel, download five Styx CDs, and write a major post in his blog. All the while, he won't miss a second of the Brazil-Argentina Futbol game. How will he do this? David utilizes the power of Google/Nike.


    [VOICEOVER] : With Google/Nike, you'll never need to visit more than one website... that would be like needlessly running around... [THE MAN LEANS BACK TOO FAR, FALLING TO THE GROUND IN AN EXPLOSION OF PAPER, COFFEE, AND OFFICE SUPPLIES]

    [VOICEOVER] : ...we wouldn't want you to strain yourself.


    [WOMANS VOICE] : David? You ok?
  • by Jugalator ( 259273 ) on Monday March 20, 2006 @12:29PM (#14957372) Journal
    Would this have been news for nerds if it didn't have Google doing behind the scenes work?

    Is Google still geeky enough for it to "matter" for us, even when their products and services doesn't mean anything at all besides that their servers are rolling?
  • And in Tagalog, Joga is slang for boobs.
  • It sounds like something Hannibal Lector would be a member of.
  • Definition (Score:2, Informative)

    by haggisbrain ( 945030 )
    Joga means "play" in Portuguese.
  • Google uses all the marketing and relationship data that Brazilians have freely entered into Orkut- they locate the people who represent the target demographic (probably young, middle-class, males who are into soccer) and who have lots of connections on Orkut. Offer up invites and maybe a few free goodies to those key people, and suddenly you have "exclusive" network. Funny how you can make people feel privileged to give you their money...
  • Joga invite (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jroysdon ( 201893 ) on Monday March 20, 2006 @04:29PM (#14959508) Homepage
    I tried to sign in at the site and get the same thing you get at Orkut:
    "Joga is unique, because it's an organically growing network of trusted friends. It is one of a kind network that focuses solely on a common interest around the game of soccer. Joga will help you connect to people who share the same passion for the game and also access exclusive content around athlete profiles, video clips and photos.

    If you know someone who is a Joga member, he or she can invite you to join as well. If you don't know a Joga member, you will still be able to join the network by visiting

    We look forward to having you join us in the Joga community."

    Uhm, ok, so I have to find someone who is on Orkut/Joga to even get into the community? But how can I find someone if I can't get into the community to do a search?

    Then I recall that Gmail account invites were for sale on eBay, and sure enough, you can get Orkut on eBay []. It's only a matter of time before Joga account invites are available on eBay.

    Anyway, if you have a Joga account, I'd love an invite. My first dot last name @
  • The site represents a shift in they way people think about how to attract people to sites.

    How many of you will go to a site because of a tv advertisement? Probably quite a few, given my audience. Compare that number though to the amount of people who would join a website/visit a website after recieving an invitation from someone you know. Many more.

    It works on two levels:

    1. We trust our friends/acquaintances more than other forms of advertising, word of mouth advertising, viral advertising, virulent memes a
  • Not soccer... (Score:3, Informative)

    by fbg111 ( 529550 ) on Monday March 20, 2006 @07:39PM (#14960879)
    I hope the that I viewed was just the American version, since it refers to football/futbol/The Beautiful Game as 'soccer'. It's only known by that name in America (where I'm viewing from), so hopefully they have internationalized versions that correctly name the game. Otherwise, they'll get a lot of t'd off anti-fans from all the other countries in the world...
  • It seem to me that general social networking as a softwarce commodity could be used by a lot of different products. Anyone know if such a thing is being done expressly with the goal of being pluggable into other projects?

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