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Wimbledon hits the Net: IBM Seer and Twitter tennis

There's a wealth of Web options to watch Wimbledon this fortnight: choose from online video and radio, mobile apps, blogs, games, podcasts and even Twitter. Anyone for twennis?

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
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Richard Trenholm
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New balls, please. It's Wimbledon! While the closest we usually get to a racket is turning Spotify up really loud, we were interested to see IBM has served up a couple of aces, with an augmented-reality application and some clever use of Twitter. Aces, d'you see? Oh never mind. We're more Harvey Dent than Taylor Dent, more Project Natal than Rafa Nadal, so we'll leave the tennis references to the experts.

Whatever your interest in tennis, this year's event does boast some seriously well-thought out use of the Internet and social media. They've got online video, mobile apps, various Twitter feeds, a mobile game, online radio, podcasts -- there's even a fashion blog. Sounds like game, set and match. Chortle.

IBM Seer

Just last week we covered Layar, an augmented-reality application from the Netherlands. Now, IBM Seer tells you about Wimbledon simply by drawing a bead with your Android phone. It works out where you are with a combination of GPS and compass information, then displays information on interesting points when you use your phone's camera to look around you.

If you're lucky enough to have tickets to Wimbledon, train your phone at the nearest court and an onscreen pop-up will tell you who's playing, the score, and who's up next. Or you can look for the nearest ATM, shop, toilet or purveyor of strawberries and cream. This information can be displayed on a map, and a 'take me there' option switches from camera to map to guide you to your destination.

Even if you're not making the pilgrimage to the furthest depths of the District Line, Seer does give you a neat overview of proceedings on court. To get the app, text 'smart' to 60999, and you'll get a download link sent back to you. It didn't recognise our HTC Magic at first, but a quick shufti at the Android Market found the 3MB app.

Click 'Continue' for some more options to take in the tennis this fortnight.

Wimbledon on the iPhone

If you're more black turtleneck than white polo shirt, grab yourself an iPhone app (iTunes link) that aggregates live scores, news, draws and on-demand video highlights.

Wimbledon on other phones

If you can't net yourself an app, point your phone's browser at m.wimbledon.org. 'Net yourself'! That one wasn't even deliberate.

Wimbledon on Twitter

If you like to get your news from Twitter, the Seer Aggregator is a downloadable app that pulls in real-time tweets from various sources. Players and news-report tweets are offered alongside the twitterings of IBM scouts, dedicated tweeters positioned around the ground, with a hashtag showing their location. The beauty of this is that you get real-time advice such as the length of queues, whether there are free seats and the excitement levels of matches. To see more, check out twitter.com/wimbledon.

Wimbledon on the Web

Behind-the-scenes videos and live games can be watched at Wimbledon.org. On-court action isn't available to users in several countries, including the US, yet the £6 day and £18 tournament passes are displayed in US dollars. You can not be serious!

With all these multimedia options, remember to take your eyes off your phone at least occasionally. How will you be following proceedings at Wimbledon? Let us know in the comments.