Version Reviewed: 2.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone5
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Crowdsourcing. That's the angle MoWeather is taking with its "real weather" in "real time" approach. Whether it's a success still remains to be seen. There is a Windows Phone 8 version that purports over 150 million users. The iPhone version, however, only recently released on November 11 and has a lot of growing to do.
The idea behind the app is a good one. It appeals to me, as someone who commutes from one weather zone to another daily (mountains to desert). The idea of opening the app to find real-time, user-uploaded photos of current weather conditions is extremely useful, especially in the winter months.
The overall setup is user-friendly: swipe to the right to create a favorite location list, swipe to the left to see the Real View page that displays photos from users to represent real-time weather conditions. Swipe up to see detailed forecast information such as temperature, wind speed, humidity, pressure, sunrise, sunset, and a fifteen day forecast.
However let’s be honest; for this to be useful, people have to actually use it. They need to upload current photos to the Real View page. As of now, the city of San Bernardino, Ca, home to over 213,000 people, has zero photos on its Real View page. Yet San Francisco has a busy photo stream that includes pictures of the Pearl Harbor memorial? I believe there are some issues that need to be ironed out.
Not to mention, my home city isn’t even found. For Southern Californians, the mountain towns are important areas to include. Travel on treacherous roads during inclement weather is always a concern. Between commuters, weekenders, and resort vacationers, a weather app like this would see a good amount of action.
On the Real View page it’s possible to click on photos and leave comments and/or likes, and even share the pictures via social media (Facebook, Twitter, Wechat moment, Wechat friends). Yet the comments are almost 100% in Mandarin Chinese? The developer is based in Beijing, but where are all the local San Franciscans? And Chicagoans? And as a side note: the weather information is taken from AccuWeather.com, which does differ from other weather station information. For example, today MoWeather claimed it was 48 degrees at 9:15 in Hesperia, Ca, while Weather Underground claimed it was 61 degrees.
The social aspect is what could set this app apart from other weather apps. Besides the Real View photo-sharing, users can connect to Facebook or Twitter (swipe right from Real View page) to share personalized moment timelines or send messages back and forth. An "all-in-one social hub." It's a great concept. Easy to use, fun, informative. But it needs work. And users.