April 9, 2013
EXCLUSIVE: Earth Networks – The WeatherBug App
Part 4 of redOrbit´s exclusive 6-part series
Alan McStravick for redOrbit.com - Your Universe OnlineSo far in the series, we´ve explored the Maryland-based company Earth Networks and their Total Lightning Network (ENTLN) with an eye on the previously unrealized technology necessary for the advances that made this severe weather alert system possible.
Before ENTLN, the bread and butter of Earth Networks (originally AWS Convergence Technologies) was their downloadable WeatherBug desktop program. The entire program came about as part of their education outreach program associated with the deployment of their weather stations at schools around the nation.
For anyone with the program downloaded to their desktop around 2005, you may recall warning messages that would pop-up on your computer screen associated with WeatherBug. This was due to the fact that Microsoft´s AntiSpyware flagged WeatherBug — and specifically AWS Convergence Technology — as a spyware program. This classification, though incorrect, created a negative impression of the company for many computer owners.
To be completely accurate, WeatherBug is adware. This means it includes both banner and pop-up advertising. Like many free products, however, there is a purchase option that is ad-free. Earth Networks calls their ad-free product WeatherBug Plus.
After the minor Microsoft spyware debacle, WeatherBug was able to rehabilitate its brand thanks to their certification by and ability to display the TRUSTe privacy seal on their website along with a laudatory article written by the editor of PC Magazine entitled “WeatherBug is Not Spyware.”
Today, WeatherBug is the primary means by which the ENTLN is able to provide GPS-tailored alerts to their users through the smartphone app. The app provides general weather information to users like temperature, wind direction and speed, humidity, etc. The app also includes detailed general forecasts along with forecasts tailored to your lifestyle. These include forecasts for golfers, families, naturists and sports enthusiasts.
Additionally, there are live camera views from numerous weather stations in particular geographic areas. In fact, Earth Networks currently operates the largest live-camera network in the world. And for those with more of an eye to multimedia, a video forecast is available through the app and is presented by a trained staff of Earth Networks´ in-house meteorologists.
There are, of course, several smartphone weather/forecast apps. However, the functionality of Earth Networks WeatherBug app combined with its exclusive affiliation with the ENTLN makes this an app worthy of review from anyone who lives or works in a high-frequency severe weather location.