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IBM Businesses

IBM Acquires the Weather Company's Digital Business (techcrunch.com) 56

An anonymous reader writes: The Times reports that IBM has agreed to acquire the Weather Company's data and digital properties including Weather.com and Weather Underground news sites. The deal does not include the Weather Channel. Techcrunch reports: "According to IBM, the acquisition helps it to harness one of the largest big data opportunities in the world: weather. That's something that impacts one-third of the world's GGP and in the U.S. alone, accounts for about half a trillion dollars in impact, the company notes. The deal will combine two big data platforms, IBM's cognitive and analytics business with that of Weather. Currently, The Weather Company has the fourth-most visited mobile app in the U.S. and handles 26 billion inquiries to its cloud-based services daily, generating about 4 GB of data per second. Following the acquisition, IBM's Watson will be able to tap into more data sets, including Weather's mobile and web properties, which analyze data from 3 billion weather forecast reference points, over 40 million mobile phones, and 50,000 flights per day."
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IBM Acquires the Weather Company's Digital Business

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  • by hsmith ( 818216 ) on Wednesday October 28, 2015 @04:47PM (#50820205)
    It is full of shitty ads, takes forever to load, every "story" is just clickbait bullshit garbage.

    Congrats on buying Buzzfeed for weather, IBM.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      bit Wunderground.com is prwtty good still. they havent nerfed it too bad.

  • by Hadlock ( 143607 ) on Wednesday October 28, 2015 @04:48PM (#50820209) Homepage Journal

    Someone please say it's true?!? IBM please revive Wunderground classic! The new framework is an atrocity, give me back my Wunderground!
    Sincerely, A weather nerd

    • I only discovered Wunderground about a year ago, what did it used to look/work like?

      Another weather nerd (I spend so much time outside that watching the weather is a routine daily activity)
      • I only discovered Wunderground about a year ago, what did it used to look/work like?

        It was wonderful!

      • by Hadlock ( 143607 ) on Wednesday October 28, 2015 @05:37PM (#50820547) Homepage Journal

        Basically the original Wunderground.com site was very, very data dense, and had lots of links to specific views of weather data, data patterns, forecasts including aviation and maritime. You also got a post-it note sized wundermap view of your local area with all of this data. Rather than getting a TV man weather report, they gave you a full weather station with all the relevant data feeds. It was very transparent and if you disagreed with the weather report, there was enough data go dig in and decide if the model was off, or if that weather pattern would impact your local area.
        The new "web 2.0" redesign dumped most of that data deep in the website, or hid it completely. Rather than having an all-in-one page, you were forced to hunt for relevant information. Data density dropped way, way down as well, which made it harder to put together a coherent picture yourself. If you just wanted to know if it was going to be sunny on Saturday, the new Wunderground was for you. If you were a hard core weather junkie who helped build up the site by telling all your friends about it for the last 15 years, it was total garbage. Since wunderground's primary audience was talented nerds, the new design did not go over well, and it didn't offer anything special (other than Wundermap which is a polished feed of the high resolution radar data now avalible for $$$ from NOAA) so it just kind of died due to absolutely shit management not understanding their core audience, and then alienating them by turning off classic.wunderground.com earlier this year.
        Here's a NYT article on the topic [nytimes.com]
        Here's a blog post detailing the changes [gawker.com]
          OLD - Here is a screenshot of "Classic" Wunderground, essentially unchanged from 2002 or so when the site really took off: https://i.imgur.com/7PA9TQF.png [imgur.com]
          NEW - Here is the site with it's "web 2.0 redesign" that went in to beta around 2010 and finally completely replaced Wunderground Classic in 2015: https://i.imgur.com/P7SU61J.png [imgur.com]
        The old site had it's fans for their reasons and it wasn't for everyone, but it was still the best online weather station data aggregator when they finally put it down. The only thing that could have made it beter was some sort of integration with stormpulse (I reccomend Cyclocane [cyclocane.com] as a free alternative)

        • Yes, damnit. It's just Endless September gone exponential.

          My head would asplode except there is nothing left inside it.

        • by jhjjhj ( 1228452 )

          I prefer the new design, although it took some getting used to.

          It works much, much better for narrow windows

          the 10 day graph, customized to add dew point has most of what I am interested in.

          You can change that graph to table or descriptive form if that's more useful.

          looking at the screenshots I don't see any information missing in the new screen. The new screen is 30% larger, but with a bigger font, so a better comparison would need to shift the size down.

        • As a nerd but not a weather nerd, I've been using wunderground since the first I ever knew of it (~2000). I did not think the redesign was a step backwards, but then I'm sure there are things that are of interest to wx foamers that I wasn't seeing.

          Wunderground still absolutely thrashes the other major weather websites. I haven't ventured there in a couple years but I know the last time I visited weather.com it was so fugly, clickbaity, ad-riddled and just generally awful that I would rather navigate warez

        • Huh. I found it just after they 'updated' it, then.
          Frankly I would have been OK with either form of it. I don't have that much of a problem with the way it is now, with one notable exception: It's bloated as hell, functionally speaking. It takes what seems like an inordinate amount of time for the page to load and finish executing, probably because of the Flash and Java content used to run it. Otherwise I'm more or less OK with the way the data is presented. I'm not a big fan of animations-for-the-sake-of-a
    • C'mon, Big Blue has it now. My guess - they'll try to find a way to charge for the weather widgets/desktop gadgets. Either that, or make 'em so complex it'll take a SME and a support team to get it working.
    • by Jayfar ( 630313 ) on Wednesday October 28, 2015 @07:47PM (#50821259)

      Did someone say classic?

      $ telnet rainmaker.wunderground.com
      Connected to rainmaker.wunderground.com.
      Escape character is '^]'.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Can't wait to see how IBM outsources the fucking weather.

    • by plopez ( 54068 )

      I was about to say, if anyone can screwup weather reporting its IBM. They destroy everything they touch and have a habit of buying and clinging to dying tech.

  • Replacing the realty shit with automated screens will be better.

  • by ElitistWhiner ( 79961 ) on Wednesday October 28, 2015 @05:36PM (#50820535) Journal

    Wunderground hosts private weather stations across the U.S. in a broad brushstroke data collection that deepens the weather data pool. IBM obviously has the power to submarine down into those depths revealing chaos patterns and resolving a weather picture unattainable. For a price!

    Fun to see WallSt. takeover the backcountry reporting stations, backyard weather rigs and blend them into a special sauce just for paying customers. What are the chances JonQPublic finds free access benefit from their free contribution? What are the chances local impacts can be forecast better with IBM?

    • As someone who has been feeding weather data to them for a number of years, I'm concerned......
  • Probably the only way they could keep the contract...
  • Amazon is also interested in cloudy big data: https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/a... [amazon.com]

    Perhaps the assistance from The Weather Company is not completely unrelated to today's announcement.
  • Shame...I love the photo side of that website.
  • 4 Gb of data per second - and that's probably just the metadata from the client queries.

  • Sounds like par for the course for the MBA's running IBM these days. They convinced themselves "cloud" is the next big thing, so they picked up their iPhones and asked Siri "What is an established company that has a lot of experience in cloud analytics?". Siri came back with "Weather.com" - and the rest is history (unfortunately big blue is history too...)
  • Keep in mind, the Big Boys are using weather when it comes to the stock market now, too.
    IBM's gonna make a killing selling this data to brokers and HFT.

It is not for me to attempt to fathom the inscrutable workings of Providence. -- The Earl of Birkenhead