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Google Maps now overlay weather information

Only a week after the Weather Channel teamed with Twitter for a new social weather service, Google has announced it is now overlaying weather information in Google Maps. Both services provide new competition for local television broadcasters.

The new weather layer on Google Maps displays current conditions and temperatures around the world and is designed to make travel planning easier. To add the weather layer to Google Maps, the user hovers a finger over the widget in the upper right corner of a map on a smart phone or mobile computing device and selects the weather layer from an option.

The interactive weather information from Google, the Weather Channel and other providers creates new competition for television broadcasters, who have long claimed to be an instantaneous source for local weather information. Now with smart phones, weather information is quickly integrating in new ways that make it available to end users outside of traditional television outlets.

When zoomed out, the user sees a map with current weather conditions from for various locations, with icons to denote sun, clouds, rain and so on. Users can also see cloud coverage, thanks to Google’s partners at the U.S. Naval Research Lab. There are also day or night times around the world via sun and moon icons.

Enabling the weather layer also offers an instant weather report for friends and family living around the world. Clicking on the weather icon for a particular city will open an info window with detailed data like current humidity and wind conditions, as well as a forecast for the next four days.

Changing the units of wind speed (Mph/KMph/Mps) and temperature (F/C), and enabling or disabling the clouds can also be done from the left-hand panel of the application.