Yahoo already helps power the Apple weather app that comes built in to every iPhone, but the newly mobile first company has just launched its own proprietary meteorological wonder — indeed, this photo-first new app is so wondrous that you should go download Yahoo! Weather from the App Store right now. (It's available at Google Play, too.) It will literally change your life, given how addicted human beings of the smartphone era have become with checking the weather on their phones. Try it out. It's free. But once you download it, you'll never want to wait around for a local weather report — or scroll through a weather-service site — for your daily get-up-and-get-dressed forecast again.
Instead of one of those weather graphics with smiling sunshine or evil thunderbolts, the first thing you'll see upon opening the Yahoo! Weather app is a beautiful image, like the one to the right, of your current city — and its current conditions, but photographically. The photo, you see, changes based on both location and weather. It doesn't change in real time, but it's always a great shot. The images come from Yahoo's massive (and massively good) photo app, Flickr, which has initiated a Project Weather that seems built for an app like this. Yahoo! Weather takes those user submitted photos, which have to meet certain requirements, and then uses them to reflect the day's weather. (If you want to participate in the photo-sharing part of this all, head here.) Since Flickr tends to draw more professional photographers, the images that cycle the app — the background changes every so often — are super-high quality... unlike the new Facebook Home cover screen, which features a few too many baby pictures if you ask us. And because the weather background images come from an ever-growing and crowdsourced database, you can look forward to new and interesting shots on a regular basis. And maybe some clouds, but still.
Scrolling down on the app provides the more comprehensive look at the day's conditions that we're accustomed to from other apps, including the ever important hour-by-hour forecast (simply swipe left to see each of the 24 hours ahead) and a five-day forecast. Yahoo! Weather pulls this information Weather Underground — a favorite website of weather enthusiasts for pulling info from the National Weather Service and from "weather enthusiasts," people who love to track precipitation in their own backyards. So, rather than just give the conditions near an airport, the new app gives more accurate data, at least in theory.
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And just as Weather Underground has all sorts of maps and satellites, Yahoo's weather app offers a lot more detail, which is particularly useful for someone who likes to know exactly what the chance of rain is — you know, for the purposes of picking out your shows, or travelling. Just below the detail screen is a written-out explanation of the weather, which provides even more detail that's useful without being overwhelming For example, the hourly images may not show a chance of rain, but the explanation below notes a "slight chance of an afternoon shower." That's important for bringing an umbrella to the office with you! The Yahoo app also has precipitation information even further down, again with the nice pictures. There's a map, too, which is arguably the app's worst feature since it doesn't have the quickest response time. But the app does have animated windmills for wind, and a little widget for sunrise and sunset. In other words, Yahoo! Weather is incredibly comprehensive, on top of being very wonderful.
The only real drawback of the app is that it doesn't come preinstalled on the iPhone, like the Yahoo powered "Weather" app that comes native to the phone. In fact, it's a little curious that Yahoo didn't turn this into an update of that app. Perhaps it's preparing for Apple to cut ties with it, à la the whole Google Maps situation. Or maybe Apple, in its controlling way, wouldn't let Yahoo add all these bells and whistles. Whatever the case, it doesn't matter: The Yahoo! Weather app is here, it's beautiful, and you should all go download it right now.
- Technology & Electronics