Accuweather, The Weather Channel and their websites have the market cornered to give consumers maps of weather patterns and forecasts. That era may be over. Google Earth has added a weather layer.
The huge search company announced that it will carry highly advanced weather tracking systems and forecasts on the Earth product.
“Currently, our precipitation data coverss some areas in North America and Europe; you can see if it’s available in certain places by enabling the radar layer,” the Google Lat Long Blog says.
The new product carries the same bird’s eye view and side views that are available on TV.
Weather is a remarkably valuable business sector. GE (NYSE: GE) NBCU division and private equity firms Bain Capital and the Blackstone Group paid $3.5 billion for the TV and online weather.com product in 2008, buying it from Landmark Communications which started the channel 28 years ago.
According to Comscore, Weather.com is the ranked No. 21 among all websites in unique visitors during June with 44.3 million visitors.
Weather.com carries a great deal of advertising which Google Earth does not.
Google may finally have found a way to make money on one of its most expensive products.
Douglas A. McIntyre