If you're stuck in a cubicle at work and unable to watch every minute of the World Cup, Google and ESPN will at least help you keep up with the latest highlights. The two companies have teamed up to pair both in-progress and post-match highlights with all search queries related to the huge tourney. And you'll see them everywhere; highlights from ESPN FC will appear across desktop web browsers, smartphones, and tablets whenever you search for a particular team, match ("Brazil vs. Croatia"), or the World Cup itself.
Best of all, these clips don't require cable credentials or any sort of authentication, so anyone can watch them. Hopefully you don't mind visiting ESPNFC.com though, since they won't actually play on the search results page. ESPN describes the deal as "the first fresh in-game video highlights integration for sports on Google Search." Google is already offering detailed overviews of games as they happen, including goals, penalties, red cards, and other stats.
Search terms that indicate you're trying to watch full games — i.e.: "watch World Cup" — will point you to live streams from WatchESPN. As you might guess, watching entire matches will require a valid cable subscription; sorry cord cutters. But the highlights should be a good compromise for fans that don't need to see every second of every game, and ESPN will be getting them up quickly.
Facebook and Twitter have also gone all in on the World Cup this year with dedicated hubs that help users track the latest action (and hopefully join the conversation themselves.) If you're using Google Search on a mobile device, World Cup score tracking can be found right inside Google Now during the tournament. The first of today's games kicks off at noon EST.