The company behind Digg wants to shake up weather forecasts.
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Everyone hates getting caught off-guard in a summer downpour. You checked the weather in the morning and the forecast called for sunshine, but of course the weatherman lied. (Not really, but that's what you tell yourself.) Now your clothes are soaked through and you're going to be the butt of every joke when you get back to the office.
Well, you may have a friend in Betaworks, the startup behind successful sites and services like Instapaper and Digg. The company's newest idea is a weather service called Poncho that delivers a personalized forecast to you every day.
The keyword there is "personalized." Unlike traditional weather apps and websites, Poncho learns your routine and tailors the forecasts to the way you live.
When you sign up, you answer a series of questions. You'll be asked when you wake up and leave for work, whether you have pets or pollen allergies, and even if you would like a hair forecast. Yep, Poncho can let you know if you're going to have a bad hair day.
The service then gives you the option to have the forecast emailed, sent as a text, or both. You can even request an afternoon forecast for when you leave work, so you don't get caught in another downpour waiting for your train home.
But there's another thing that sets this service apart: Each forecast is prepared by a team of human editors and is written to be sassy and fun. And as an added bonus, the forecasts also include train delays and traffic alerts.
The biggest downside is that Poncho is currently limited to New York City and Boston. That's soon to change: Betaworks promises that its number one priority for the project is to roll Poncho out nationwide.
Another shortcoming? There's no way to set different zip codes for your morning and evening forecasts, so if you've got a long commute, you might end up with incorrect info at either end of your daily trip.
The New York Times' Bits blog reports that the service was created by Kuan Huang, a member of the Betaworks hacker-in-residence program. It's just one of many projects brewing at the so-called "startup studio."
Only time will tell if Betaworks has another hit on its hands. In the meantime, don't forget your umbrella.