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Soccer World Cup continues to smash tweeting, streaming records

If you’ve been watching or tweeting about the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, you’re certainly not alone — all kinds of online records are being broken as the tournament moves into its latter stages. Various World Cup promotions across Twitter as well as an unprecedented level of online streaming coverage by ESPN have helped soccer’s most prestigious event capture the imagination of Internet users across the globe.

First of all, the Twitter stats: the Brazil vs Chile match on Saturday became the most tweeted event of all time on the social network. A total of 16.4 million tweets were sent out during the match, many of which were no doubt embellished by the flag hashtags Twitter has introduced for the event. After extra time and a penalty shoot-out, Brazil squeezed through to the next round.

A tweet sent out by @TwitterData highlighted some of the peak moments in the game: 199,731 tweets-per-minute at the end of normal time, 239,219 TPM as Neymar put Brazil in the lead during the shoot-out and 388,985 TPM as the game ended. That figure puts the match ahead of Superbowl 48 (382,000 tweets-per-minute) as the most tweeted sporting event to date. Whether later games can create enough drama to set a new record remains to be seen.

The Superbowl was edged out in terms of online streaming activity too. Thursday’s game between the United States and Germany was a record event for ESPN’s online channel, with WatchESPN attracting a total of 3.2 million viewers during the match. The maximum number of viewers watching at any one time was 1.7 million, and overall the event averaged an audience of 1,49,769 viewers-per-minute. That tops the 1.1 million peak concurrent viewers who watched the Superbowl on Fox, though the soccer event still lags way behind in terms of terrestrial TV viewing.

The statistics are an interesting barometer of global take-up of Internet access and the growth of social media as a ‘second screen’ experience, something Twitter is keen to promote. When South Africa hosted the last World Cup in 2010, the digital landscape looked substantially different, and 2018 could be a different story altogether.

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Adam Rosenberg
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Previously, Adam worked in the games press as a freelance writer and critic for a range of outlets, including Digital Trends…
Adidas puts HD action cams in World Cup soccer ball, captures panoramas of players
adidas puts hd action cams world cup soccer ball sends around brazucam

To promote the upcoming 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, Adidas has outfitted one if its brand-new "Brazuca" soccer balls with six HD action cams, capable of capturing a 360-degree panoramic video from the ball's perspective. This is, in fact, not the first action cam sporting multiple cameras that we've seen, nor the first multi-cam apparatus in ball form. But it is indeed the first soccer ball – at least that we've heard of – capable of capturing 360-degree videos.
The ball, aptly called the 'Brazucam,' will be traveling the world in the coming weeks, going to countries including Spain, Germany, and England. There, it will join the respective national soccer teams during their exercises, and take some beautiful spherical panoramic video footage while being kicked around by soccer stars such as Xavi Hernandez, Dani Alves, Cristian Tello, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Manuel Neuer, Philipp Lahm, and David Villa. In order to capture steady images, the Brazucam's six cameras are supported by a custom-made image stabilization technology, wrapped around by precious leather.
You can follow the adventures of the Brazucam via the official Brazuca Twitter account, and over at the Adidas Football YouTube channel (football as in soccer, for those in the States). So far, only one promotional video clip has been uploaded, and it unfortunately contains only very little footage from the Brazucam. But Adidas promises that there's more to come in the next seven weeks.
Sadly, there is no technical information available for the soccer-loving geeks among us. So we cannot say what types of cameras are inside the Brazucam, whether or not the individual streams are being stitched together to form a true 360-degree panoramic video, how the image stabilization works, etc. Also, we currently have no idea what will happen to the Brazucam once the FIFA World Cup kicks off in June, but it will probably not be used during official matches – as much fun as it would be, being able to watch the matches from a "ball's-eye-view."
(Via CNet, Adidas)

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Goal line technology rolled out at soccer’s Confederations Cup, world does not end
goal line technology rolled out at soccers confederations cup world does not end goalcontrol

The Confederations Cup – a technically meaningless international soccer tournament that serves as a warm up for the up-coming World Cup’s host nation – got underway this past weekend. The opening match, in which Brazil trounced Japan 3-0, was the first time a FIFA-sanctioned game employed goal line technology to assist officials in determining when a goal has been scored.
Soccer has been slow to adopt technology in conjunction with its officiating, which should come as no surprise – this is a sport where the length of any given game is kinda sorta guestimated on the fly by the head referee. This can seem preposterous to fans of American football, who are bombarded by tech. Most of us probably think the yellow line indicating the first down marker magically appears and disappears on the stadium grass and not just our TV screens, and our referees spend more time “under the hood” than mechanics do.
What finally inspired soccer officials to make a change was a disallowed goal during a match between England and Germany in the 2010 World Cup. The blatant error was an embarrassment to the game, but certainly not the most poorly refereed match involving the German team. 

Ironically, the International Football Association Board contracted with a German company, GoalControl for its goal line technology. The system uses 14 cameras (seven per goal) installed on a catwalk, each able to capture about 500 images per second, to track the trajectory of the ball in real time. If the cameras detect a goal has been scored, the system sends a vibrating signal to a watch worn by all the on-field officials. According to FIFA, the technology is to be used as a resource in determining disputed goals and will coincide with replays on stadium big screens (yes, American football fan, this is a new concept in international soccer).
Unfortunately for supporters of the technology, none of Brazil’s goals in Saturday’s game were ever in dispute, so the tech wasn’t put to the test. If you were watching the game, you were alerted to goals the old fashion way – everyone else cheered while you were away from your seat, getting a ‘cacharro-quente’  and a soda. Still, the Confederations Cup runs through the end of the month; considering how often soccer goals are in dispute, that should prove more than enough time to bring the technology to bear.

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Huawei finds its niche with the sporty Watch GT Runner
Huawei Watch GT Runner on wrist.

By focusing on a specific niche, Huawei may have found an audience for its latest smartwatch, the Watch GT Runner. It’s a spinoff of Huawei’s classier Watch GT 3 smartwatch, but as the new watch’s name suggests, it's targeted squarely at runners.

It’s a technically impressive bit of hardware, and the software is very good, so when you consider it as an alternative to other running watches, the Huawei idiosyncrasies that frustrate on the Watch GT 3 become less of a problem here. I've been trying it out and here are my thoughts.
A light touch
The Huawei Watch GT Runner is light -- just 51 grams with the very flexible silicone strap -- and that makes it comfortable to wear all day. The 46mm case is quite big, but at 11mm thick, it never feels that ungainly. For comparison, the new 47mm Garmin Fenix 7 weighs 79 grams and is nearly 15mm thick. The lightness comes from the polymer fiber case, which is given some visual appeal with a ceramic bezel and titanium crown. It’s also worth noting the huge amount of adjustment on the strap that allows it to be worn both under and over clothing.

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