Last week Google added weather layer to its official version of Google Map. Information is coming from weather.com and includes current temperature, humidity and wind data as well as 5 day temperature forecast. Weather icons on the map represent today’s forecasted conditions and background map is simplified when weather layer is selected to make icons more visible.
There are many sources of local weather information with global coverage so, the addition of this data layer should have been expected sooner or later. Weather information is extremely popular – these days any larger portal has at least a weather widget if not the entire weather forecasting and publishing arm (eg. Yahoo7 and weatherzone.com.au). Weather apps are amongst the best sellers on iTunes. My simple weather widget is the most popular “page” on aus-emaps.com - with over 800,000 pageviews per month.
The goalpost has moved again as weather information became another commodity item. Listing a current temperature and/or forecast is an expected norm from any news or local community focused portal or blog. Tabular listings of detailed weather information are increasingly being supplemented with maps showing all sorts of details, including animated clouds, rain intensity, lightning strikes etc. (as per example from weatherchannel.com.au below). So, mere presentation of information will no longer be a distinctive feature. Intensified competition will only foster innovation and specialisation – to the benefit of all users!
Weather widget take 3
Free weather widget upgrade