WeatherBug Launches Labs to Get Weather Ideas Brewing

 
 
By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2005-11-09 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Following in Google's footsteps, WeatherBug has launched WeatherBug Labs to spread weather information faster—before tornadoes, hurricanes or other natural disasters have a chance to wreak havoc.

Following in the footsteps of Google Inc., WeatherBug last week launched WeatherBug Labs with the intent of seeding ideas on how to get weather in front of more faces faster—before tornadoes, hurricanes or other natural disasters have a chance to wreak havoc. WeatherBugs parent company is AWS Convergence Technologies Inc., which owns and operates the worlds largest live weather network. It runs some 8,000 weather-monitoring stations nationwide, with most of them perched on top of schools across the country. WeatherBugs underlying technology includes broadcasting. The weather network partners with about 100 NBC, ABC, CBS and Fox TV stations to stream live data into the weather segment of their newscasts.
As far as the newly launched WeatherBug Labs goes, one of its first projects, an RSS feed that brings neighborhood-level weather information to desktops, is already out the door as a product.
Click here to read about Googles addition of an RSS feed option to its news. Launched in mid-October, the feed is accessible via any RSS reader, such as Newsburst, Pluck or Rojo. It delivers live current conditions from one of WeatherBugs 8,000 Tracking Stations and brings daily forecasts and exclusive news stories from WeatherBug meteorologists. It also delivers WeatherBug Hall of Fame photos submitted by WeatherBug users.
Other WeatherBug Labs projects include WeatherBug Podcast, WeatherBug Games, WeatherBug on IM (instant messaging), WeatherBug Lite Mac (for the Macintosh platform) and WeatherBug API. The newly introduced API is already seeing action as companies pick up WeatherBug to make it their own, customizing it with company photos or logos and integrating it into their Web sites, WeatherBug Chief Technology Officer and cofounder Chris Sloop said in an interview with eWEEK.com. "Its an important thing for employees," he said. "Especially if you have employees in the Midwest, where there are tornadoes, its very important to have something on the system that alerts you." Gada.Be is the first metasearch engine to be powered by RSS. Read more here. Beyond caring for employees welfare, monitoring weather information is vital for data center operations, Sloop said, where an early heads-up on such things as severe thunder strikes and other naturally occurring disasters can make all the difference for disaster planning and recovery. But WeatherBug faces an uphill battle when it comes to wide enterprise adoption. Early on, the service was maligned as spyware or at least adware. It is, in fact, supported by ads. But those ads are not pop-ups, and WeatherBug is on the war path to resurrect its good name. "I look at it kind of like when spam filter technology came out," Sloop said. "It not only filtered real spam e-mail, but some real e-mail got lost in the filter. We kind of got stuck into being labeled. And you cant blame the anti-spyware guys: Their approach was to label as many things as possible and cast as wide a net as possible because its a real issue. And some good people got caught in the net." Check out eWEEK.coms for more on IM and other collaboration technologies.
 
 
 
 
Lisa Vaas is News Editor/Operations for eWEEK.com and also serves as editor of the Database topic center. Since 1995, she has also been a Webcast news show anchorperson and a reporter covering the IT industry. She has focused on customer relationship management technology, IT salaries and careers, effects of the H1-B visa on the technology workforce, wireless technology, security, and, most recently, databases and the technologies that touch upon them. Her articles have appeared in eWEEK's print edition, on eWEEK.com, and in the startup IT magazine PC Connection. Prior to becoming a journalist, Vaas experienced an array of eye-opening careers, including driving a cab in Boston, photographing cranky babies in shopping malls, selling cameras, typography and computer training. She stopped a hair short of finishing an M.A. in English at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. She earned a B.S. in Communications from Emerson College. She runs two open-mic reading series in Boston and currently keeps bees in her home in Mashpee, Mass.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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