Weather forecast app Dark Sky has expanded its services to the web, with a full-featured browser site that offers much of the main app's pinpoint-accurate weather predictions and data (via Wired). Dark Sky co-founder Adam Grossman said the reasoning behind introducing a desktop site for Dark Sky was for people who preferred not to take out their phone when sitting at their computer, but still wanted Dark Sky's accurate readings.
On DarkSky.net, the first pieces of data showcase the temperature, a brief incoming warning about potential bad weather ("Light rain starting in the evening," for example), along with a 24-hour forecast. Wind, Humidity, Dew Point, UV Index, Visibility, and Pressure are also all listed at the top of the website. A large local map takes up the center of the page, and can be customized to show visuals like Temperature, Precipitation, Wind Gusts, and more.
“We really needed that companion website to Dark Sky,” says Dark Sky co-Founder Adam Grossman. “If you’re on your desktop, maybe you don’t want to pull the phone out of your pocket.”
The bottom of the site houses the weekly forecast, where users can click on each upcoming day for a more in-depth breakdown of the coming week. There's even a "Time Machine" feature below the weekly forecast that lets users jump back or ahead to a specific day and check out all of the expected weather data that happened, or will happen, in its 24-hour span.
Grossman said it's easier to experiment with things on the web, so the company has thrown in a few new aspects of Dark Sky, like microclimates, which could potentially come to the iOS and Android apps one day. If users check out the Grand Canyon, for instance, they can zoom down and see how the temperature changes as they descend. The website does lack the mobile app's well-known notifications -- which give weather warnings ahead of time -- due to "less reliable" notification data and GPS location tracking that's "harder to pin down."
Some additions that are downright clever. Whereas Forecast.io only showed a precipitation map, the Dark Sky site’s maps are situationally aware. If you head there on a potentially snowy day, for instance, it will automatically know to serve you an accumulation map. Even the precipitation maps have gotten more refined. If it’s going to rain soon, you’ll get a detailed radar view. If there’s rain nearby potentially heading your way, Dark Sky will load a bigger picture view.
The new site is said to be a bolstered version of the company's previous desktop site Forecast.io, although Grossman admits that they "made it as an experiment," and the new site is a better version. Also beneficial to users is Dark Sky's adherence to a no-advertisement policy, because Grossman and the team wanted to avoid pratfalls of other big weather websites that are "filled with ads top to bottom, and crusty links to other articles."