Google Maps Adds Weather Layer; Directly Challenges WunderMap

Google Maps has added a weather layer -- powered by -- that displays current temperatures and conditions worldwide and shows a sun or moon to indicate time of day.

But Google is not the first to create an interactive weather map. In 2008, Weather Underground, founded by online weather pioneers Jeff Masters (PhD in meteorology) and Alan Steremberg in 1995, launched WunderMap, which is actually powered by Google and offers features like radar overlays, webcams and services dedicated to natural disasters like hurricanes, fires and tornadoes.

As ReadWriteWeb reports, WunderMap ranks first in Google search results for "google maps weather," followed by the WunderMap widget -- but how long will it remain at the top?

UPDATE [2:32pm PDT, 8/18/2011] WunderMap's Director of Marketing Toby Skinner tells LAUNCH, "We don't see Google Maps as a competitor of ours. We have 20M unique monthly users and they've used our site enough to know that we're known for the best data."

While it is possible that weather integration into Google Maps could decrease some of WunderApp's unique visitors via search, Toby says, "at the end of the day, our data and interactive maps have a much greater level of depth. Some people want the most basic weather, which we also provide, and Google Maps will provide, but in terms of more advanced weather data such as hurricane layers and storm tracks, [Google Maps] is not competing with us in the market with a lot more extreme weather fanatics."  

Below, compare Google Maps with WunderMap. The first set of images are directions from Santa Monica to San Francisco and the second set show a general map of West L.A.. We don't see much difference. Which one are you more likely to use? Discuss in the comments.

Driving directions from Google Maps.


Driving directions from WunderMap.

Google Maps view of West L.A.

WunderMap view of West L.A.

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