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CBS Storms Into Mobile Weather Alerts

Needs to work on that timeliness thing

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[ Technology]

Severe weather details for hurricanes and other conditions in near real-time form the eye of the latest CBS digital initiative.

We’ve seen CBS push in various directions with its Internet projects. They want to break news first online, and keep the audiences for their various shows connected through additional online content.

The increasing presence of web-capable mobile devices represents another avenue for CBS to explore. Their latest effort partners with AccuWeather and Quattro Wireless for a weather-related site, CBS Mobile News Hurricane Center.

(As names go, they’ve taken a page out of Microsoft’s book, and its propensity for lengthy product titles, it seems.)

Severe weather poses serious threats, and people aren’t always in front of a desktop computer to pull up details about a major storm. CBS said this project shows storm tracker details and live radar updates, geo-targeted for the viewer.

An AccuWeather spokesperson said in a statement their meteorologists expect a rough hurricane season in 2008. “So far conditions are unfolding as expected,” AccuWeather’s Jim Candor said.

A look at the service today shows it tracking Iselle, a tropical storm in the east Pacific region. The touted “near real-time” data for Iselle carries a time stamp of 2 pm PDT for its position and satellite imagery; that’s about 90 minutes before our press time.

Maybe it’s a bug or a feature, but we tend to think of near real-time as being, well, a little more timely. While hurricanes do give some lead time and warning, we still want such details to be as current as possible.

CBS Storms Into Mobile Weather Alerts
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