Mark Fletcher announced the release of Bloglines Weather Forecasts a couple of days back; I’ve been busy doing whuffie work, so today is all catch-up.
I’ve been awaiting the release of this functionality since my exchange with Chuck Richard of Outsell. As I wrote then regarding Chuck’s comments about Weather and Stocks:
“These were, in fact, the two most popular ‘Channels’ on PointCast, and would be a welcome addition in my aggregator. In fact, there isn’t any type of content that I can think of that I wouldn’t want to have the option of including in my aggregator.”
Some quick thoughts now that the first iteration of the offering has launched…
– Single “Feed” per geo region (international geo’s and metrics supported)
– Single “Post” per “Feed” that gets updated (vs. a constant stream of posts)
– Formatted, graphic presentation of essential weather data
What I mean by the above is that Bloglines chose not to be constrained by the current notion of how a Feed should work; rather, they use the Feed metaphor from an organizational standpoint, and present weather (largely) as users prefer to see it.
There’s always room for improvement, so here’s some (hopefully) constructive feedback…
– Update frequency appears to be twice daily. It’s 830AM right now, and Bloglines currently shows that the forecast was last updated at 1130PM yesterday; weather models change frequently and freshness is correlated with accuracy (rightly or wrongly) in most people’s minds. More updates = better. Also, even when the forecast is updated, the Feed doesn’t display as new/modified; that’d be a nice signal to the user.
– No click-through for more detailed weather info. What does light rain mean? How much will fall over the period? How much snow will accumulate? What direction is that wind blowing. This stuff matters in different scenarios.
– Only supported within Bloglines. I understand the desire to differentiate the platform, so I’m not surprised by this. And, I suspect the non-standard implementation wouldn’t hold up in other aggregators. I’ll leave it there since I’m not the target market, but just say that I’m still looking for a good weather solution in my primary aggregator.
– Email support appears to be broken in Outlook. I emailed the forecast to myself as a test. None of the condition icons rendered (yes, even after clicking to download images).
All in all? A nice start for those who use Bloglines as their primary (or online) aggregator. I look forward to seeing how the team approaches Stocks.