The Weather Channel added Facebook integration to its website today that will let visitors know about any severe weather that might be affecting their friends in other locations.
When visitors connect with Facebook, The Weather Channel will indicate which friends live in areas that are currently at risk for hurricanes, tornadoes, snow storms and other serious weather occurrences. Users will be able to easily share weather alerts with these friends. This is a useful feature that could help warn people about weather danger, and at the very least, lead to more friendly messages and personal connections between friends who might not live near each other.
The app uses the “current city” on friends’ profiles to know where they live. The app does not use check-ins, so it won’t be able to tell if a friend is visiting another location. The Weather Channel will prioritize friends that users have listed as family or close friends using Facebook friend lists, and the company says it is working on a way for users to designate their top friends directly within the app.
My Friends’ Weather is a good example for other websites to consider when they think about making their business more social. We’re likely to see many more sites build new features that personalize users’ experience by using information from their Facebook profile. Even The Weather Channel could go further to integrate Facebook by allowing Facebook login to pull a user’s own current city and recent check-ins to provide weather updates for those locations. The site could pique users’ interest by showing them which of their friends are experiencing the highest and lowest temperatures on a given day, for example.
The Weather Channel could also tap into Open Graph publishing to make it easier for users to share their actions from the site. Currently there are “love” and “ugh” buttons for users to say how they feel about the weather, but rather than being custom verbs that support frictionless sharing, the buttons bring up a separate share dialog. If the site used the new Open Graph format, it could also create interesting aggregations on users’ Timelines. For example, the app could show users how many “ugh” days versus “love” days they’ve had in the past month or year.