As part of Widgetbox's new staff series—we'll be bringing you occasional guest posts from members of the Widgetbox team.
It seems like everybody is obsessed with the World Cup right now: Who’s in, who’s out, who has exceeded expectations and who has disappointed their fans. I’ve been following it as closely as I can, and I find that even when I’m looking at our databases I think about the World Cup.
Given the global nature of the Internet, we serve millions of widgets all around the world every day. We also gather lots of data about these widgets and the way they are used. I thought it would be fun to take a peek at some of this data with a focus on the eight countries that made it into the World Cup quarterfinals this year.
Here are those eight countries, along with their current world soccer ranking (FIFA Ranking) and population. I ordered them by ”annual per capita widgets served”, which means the average number of our widgets seen by each resident of that country last year.
1) Netherlands FIFA Ranking: 4 Population: 16,620,675 Annual per capita widgets served: 16.72
The Netherlands is perhaps the best team to have never won the World Cup. They’ve been runners-up twice, both times losing to the host nation and on one of those occasions losing in extra time. With their epic upset of Brazil, they're in the semifinals with a chance to change their winless World Cup history
We serve far more widgets per capita in the Netherlands than in any of the other countries on this list, many of them on the Hyves social networking site. The most popular one right now is Gratis.nl. Apparently that widget offers lots of free stuff. I’m sure what the Dutch fans want right now is lots of free kicks to help their team remain unbeaten in their quest for the Cup.
2) Spain FIFA Ranking: 2 Population: 46,951,532 Annual per capita widgets served: 5.63
Spain is a country with a great team right now, but they do not have a long history of World Cup success. Their best finish was fourth place back in 1950. After their nail-biting win over Paraguay in their quarter-final match, they still have a chance to win their first World Cup title
Spain’s favorite widget is Marcador sportYou, a great source of Spanish language soccer news that is currently focused on the World Cup, like much of the rest of the world.
3) Germany FIFA Ranking: 6 Population: 81,757,600 Annual per capita widgets served: 2.08
Germany has long been one of the best of many great European teams. They have made the semifinals at the last two World Cups, but haven’t won the Cup since 1990.
Germany’s favorite widget is Countdown Creator Pro. Countdown widgets have always been popular, and this has been one of our most popular pro widgets since we first introduced it. I’ve seen lots of World Cup countdowns making use of our cool Pro features, but one feature we don’t have is to predict who will win the Cup on July 11.
4) Argentina FIFA Ranking: 7 Population: 40,134,425 Annual per capita widgets served: 1.96
World Cups are like Potato Chips; you don’t want to stop at one. Argentina was one of four quarterfinalists this year who have won the Cup more than once in the past, having won in both 1978 and 1986.
Argentina loves Maukie – the virtual cat. Maukie has always been one of our more popular widgets all around the world, but it’s especially popular in Argentina. Who knows, if you put Maukie on your site maybe you will see a big boost in traffic from Argentina. Just make sure you don’t confuse Maukie with Messi, the star of the Argentine National Team and the 2009 FIFA World Player of the Year.
5) Brazil FIFA Ranking: 1 Population: 193,151,000 Annual per capita widgets served: 1.65
Brazil stands alone in many aspects of World Cup history. They have won the Cup more times than any other country (5), they are the only country to win the Cup away from their home continent, and they are the only country to have won the Cup without at least one of its Cup victories coming as the host country.
Brazil also loves widgets, with one of the favorites being the Google Maps widget. That widget might come in handy when Brazil hosts the World Cup 4 years from now and lots of international travelers try to find their way around Brazil to follow their teams.
6) Uruguay FIFA Ranking: 16 Population: 3,361,000 Annual per capita widgets served: 1.49
Despite being a very small country in both area and population, Uruguay has won the Cup twice in the past and has made it to the semifinals this year.
The widget we serve most often in Uruguay is NeoCounter, a web counter that counts hits by country. So not only is that widget the most popular in Uruguay, but it probably knows that already.
7) Paraguay FIFA Ranking: 31 Population: 6,349,000 Annual per capita widgets served: 0.39
Even though their quarterfinal match with Spain went the distance, Paraguay was the definite underdog, having never made the semifinals in the past and barely making their way into the quarterfinals by defeating Japan with Penalty Kicks. Useless trivia: Paraguay was the only landlocked country left in this year’s World Cup semifinals.
Paraguay’s favorite widget is the Twitter Widget. Whose tweets are they reading in Paraguay? Who knows, maybe the movie buffs down in Paraguay like to use the Twitter Widget to see what Roger Ebert has to say about the latest summer blockbuster (http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/).
8 ) Ghana FIFA Ranking: 32 Population: 23,837,000 Annual per capita widgets served: 0.04
Ghana has a lot of great young players, having recently won the under-20 World Cup in 2009. They were certainly an underdog in the World Cup, but they are very popular and advanced further than any other African team.
Fittingly, Ghana’s favorite widget right now is the Sky Sports – Football widget, a widget devoted to soccer news. That widget is seen mostly in the US and the UK, but after that Ghana is its most popular country.
—When Ike isn't being a Renaissance Man--Karaoke Master, Copy Editor, Music Video Star--he's moonlighting in Boston as our Database Architect