Fall is just around the corner in the Northern Hemisphere, and at least for those of us in some locales, outdoor activities can now ramp up with the milder temperatures.
This week’s All Things Appy takes a look at the top five free Chrome apps in the weather department.
About the Ecosystem: Download a Chrome browser for your operating system. Google’s Chrome apps and extensions for its browser are found in the Chrome Web Store. Click on a new tab in the browser, choose the Chrome Web Store link in the lower right corner of the page, and use the on-page Search text box to find the required app.
Within Google’s Chrome, apps are generally self-contained, whereas extensions can provide pop-up functions or interact with the Web page. A lot of the apps and extensions are merely bookmarks.
No. 1: Full Screen Weather
Full Screen Weather has 4 stars out of a possible 5 from 2,533 reviewers in the Chrome Web Store. The app has 952,524 users.
Without a doubt, this app offers the best-looking weather maps out there for desktop, even if it is a little peculiar to navigate.
This Wunderground crowdsourced app is simply a straight mash-up of Google Maps along with satellite or terrain detail — and superimposed radar, satellite weather or reporting weather station data. Thousands of data sources are included, such as hobbyist stations and remote automated stations perched on mountaintops. Drill-down for super-local observations.
No. 2: Rain Alarm
Rain Alarm has 4 stars out of a possible 5 from 304 reviewers in the Chrome Web Store. The app has 81,331 users.
This app warns you of precipitation headed your way. Set your location and some parameters, like a search radius, and the app will alert you. You may have to adjust sensitivity and search interval, but it does usually work.
Alternatives include looking out of the window.
No. 3: WeatherBug
WeatherBug has 4 stars out of a possible 5 from 3,016 reviewers in the Chrome Web Store. The app has 608,449 users.
A good, solid, all-around weather extension with animated graphics. A close-by weather cam will display in the animated window if available. An additional add-on for Windows gives you severe weather alerts in your taskbar.
Detailed observations include must-haves like humidity, monthly rain, and an interesting rain rate for the day. All useful stuff.
No. 4: Uber Weather
Uber Weather has 4 stars out of a possible 5 from six reviewers in the Chrome Web Store. The app has 3,490 users.
Here’s a Google-driven weather map that includes layers like ski resorts, driving directions, and traffic. It’s not quite as elegant as the other apps we’ve included, hence its runner’s-up position. Still, it is remarkably interesting to see traffic snarl-ups created by weather, and it’s a tool you can use to pick alternate freeway commute routes based on rain-dumping weather cells.
No. 5: YoWindow Weather
YoWindow Weather has 5 stars out of a possible 5 from 4,467 reviewers in the Chrome Web Store. The app has 190,747 users.
“Quirky” would be a good one-word description for this very popular extension. Clicking on a button adjacent to the address bar creates an animated “living landscape” that reflects the weather.
Choose from weather layer-superimposed pastoral scenes, cityscapes, and other scenes — or make your own with any photo — and the weather animates in real-time, a bit like looking out of a virtual window. A time scroll lets you project a forecast graphically. Fun, if you’ve got time on your hands.
Want to Suggest an Apps Collection?
Is there a batch of apps you’d like to suggest for review? Remember, they must all be for the same platform, and they must all be geared toward the same general purpose. Please send the names of five or more apps to me, and I’ll consider them for a future All Things Appy column.
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