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Bing Weather - Amazing Built-In Weather App For Windows 8

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12/10/2012 3:45:10 PM

Windows 8's amazing looking built-in weather app is going down a storm

Looking to the skies is a national pastime. And hey, nothing's stopping you from sticking your head out of the door and craning it upwards. But what does it really tell you, and can you predict what's coming? Nothing, and no, in that order, so turn to Bing Weather. The app gets its highly-localised information from trusted sources. There's Accuweather, a service that is, unsurprisingly, focused on providing accurate weather data. Foreca is another option - we have to presume that's short for 'forecast' - and crowd-sourced site Weather Underground completes the trio. The latter is tremendous; it's not affiliated with any of the major meteorological organisations in the world, instead drawing its data from over 20,000 personal weather stations across the globe. It's the people's weather forecaster - a neat idea, and one that really seems to work well.

Visiting all of these sites to get an average picture of the weather would be time consuming and, with Bing Weather around, completely pointless.

Visiting all of these sites to get an average picture of the weather would be time consuming and, with Bing Weather around, completely pointless.

Visiting all of these sites to get an average picture of the weather would be time consuming and, with Bing Weather around, completely pointless. You can pull in forecasts from all three, and compare and contrast.

Predict it yourself

Forecasts are one thing, but history is another. If you're looking to properly scope out the potential for rain on a certain date, you'll want to delve back into historical records to see what's happened in the past. Once again, Bing Maps provides.

Scroll all the way to the right of the app and you'll be able to explore the extremes of your current location; discover the record highs and lows, the average amount of rainfall, and even the history of snow in the area. Admittedly this isn't going to be super-useful without a bit more detail, but it's interesting to compare your current weather maladies - it's either too wet, too cold or too hot, after all with those from the past.

Back to tradition

Of course, we're used to getting our weather from a besuited presenter in front of a nattily animated map. We can't necessarily help with the former unless you're willing to put your back to the screen and point out areas of high pressure, but Bing Weather does offer a host of animated maps.

You'll find them mid way along the main screen, just after the hourly forecast. They're playable as videos, and you can also tap the bar to pick a time that interests you. Bear in mind that the satellite view only covers the past; it's not predictive like the others.

Location aware

Bing Weather should be able to pick out your location even if you don't have a GPS device - it'll look at your internet address and approximate from there. Right-click or swipe down and use the Places menu to add more locales.

How hot?

The temperature is, by default, displayed in centigrade, but you can change this to Fahrenheit through the swipe-down menu. You'll see an approximation of what the temperature actually feels like underneath.

The forecast

Although Bing Weather will give you a brief look at the current climate on its live tile, head to the app proper for a detailed preview of the next few days. Be sure to click the arrow at the top right to view data for further in the future.

Although Bing Weather will give you a brief look at the current climate on its live tile, head to the app proper for a detailed preview of the next few days.

Although Bing Weather will give you a brief look at the current climate on its live tile, head to the app proper for a detailed preview of the next few days.

Compare, contrast

Usually you'll see data pulled from Accuweather on Bing Weather's main page, but it’s simple enough to list information from Foreca or our favourite service, Weather Underground. Just tap the arrow, bottom right.

On the hour

Just to the right of the main screen you'll see a breakdown of the upcoming weather, divided up into three hourly slots. Swipe it to see a forecast for the weather further in the future - it covers the next couple of days.

Amazing looks

Bing Weather is absolutely gorgeous, with a hand-picked image reflecting the current weather in your location. It's not just the picture, though: the whole app recolours itself to match the mood.

Check this out

Don't miss this hidden feature

World map

Swipe down or right-click, and choose the 'World Weather' icon to see weather worldwide. Click an area to take a closer look.

Swipe down or right-click, and choose the 'World Weather' icon to see weather worldwide.

Swipe down or right-click, and choose the 'World Weather' icon to see weather worldwide.

Try it with these

Check out some alternative weather apps for a full forecast

Weatherbug

Weatherbug

Price: Free

Although this doesn't offer the same level of detail as the official Microsoft app, it does have some cool extra features. Want to know if there is rain, extreme cold, snow or fog on the horizon? Ask Weatherbug to alert you. And don't miss its extended view of the current climate, or its integrated Bing weather maps. They're really rather good.

The Weather Network

The Weather Network

Price: Free

This doesn't have the glorious graphics of Bing Weather. It doesn't have the excellent alert system of Weatherbug. It doesn't even try to find your location, but it does link you to weather-related news, like "Man struck by lightning" or "Farmer feeds cattle candy during drought". So it's not all bad.

 

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