AccuWeather is arguably one of the best weather forecasts and tracking platforms around. Since Apple acquired Dark Sky and Android users no longer have access to the wildly popular app, AccuWeather is the most popular alternative. Second only to The Weather Channel in terms of downloads, AccuWeather offers a better overall user experience and a plethora of features including the proprietary RealFeel Temperature and useful widget for mobile devices.
This week, AccuWeather is looking to find some real estate on your desktop with its newly launched Chrome Extension designed in partnership with Mocha Global. The extension, available from the Chrome Web Store, offers much more than a simple look at today’s weather. Once installed, users can customize the extension to add multiple locations, control notification preferences, and add weather alerts based on specific activities like golf, driving, or health-related factors such as pollen levels in your area.
“We are excited to bring our world-class weather insights with proven Superior Accuracy to this partnership opportunity with Mocha, to power the first-ever AccuWeather Google Chrome Extension,.This innovative extension, modeled with an elegant, intuitive design, opens another avenue for our users to receive the most accurate, up-to-the-minute weather forecasts on a hyper-local scale.”AccuWeather Senior Vice President of Business Development, Paul Lentz.
The extension is fairly robust and it even includes a link to AccuWeather’s real-time COVID-19 global tracking map. Features in the extension such as daily and hourly weather simply take you to AccuWeather’s full site with your local forecast but location-specific weather overviews can be accessed directly within the extension itself. All-in-all, AccuWeather has produced a great looking extension with features aplenty but as I mentioned in the title, there is a catch. Obviously, a weather app would require location access and you will need to allow AccuWeather the ability to access web pages that you are browsing if you wish to receive the lightbox notifications for weather alerts. However, the list of permissions required by AccuWeather seems a bit over the top in my opinion. You can see below all of the permissions you will have to allow in order to use the extension.
• “Read and change your data on the websites you visit” – this allows us to deliver you time-sensitive weather alerts on any site that you are visiting in the form of lightboxes or other notification.
• “Read your browsing history” – this allows us to optimize the experience based on user statistics.
• “Display notifications” – this allows us to provide you alerts via notification while you are surfing the web
• “Replace the page you see when opening a new tab” – this allows us to provide relevant weather information every time you open a new tab page.
What data we collect: To deliver weather information and time-sensitive alerts, we collect your IP address, information about your browser and device, URLs and domain names of web pages you visit, and statistics on how you interact with alerts and the extension. Presumably, the partnership with Mocha will ensure the security of any personal data you may enter on a website but that doesn’t mean that AccuWeather and its affiliates aren’t using you as a cash cow for targeted advertising.AccuWeather via Chrome Web Store
All that aside, I don’t feel like AccuWeather is targeting unknowing users but there is one thing I really don’t like about this extension. It changes Chrome’s New Tab Page. Don’t get me wrong, AccuWeather’s landing page looks great and I’m sure many users will be happy to have it but at least give me a choice. As far as I can tell, there is no way to disable this feature. So, if you use the extension, your New Tab Page for Chrome will now belong to AccuWeather. If you’re interested in AccuWeather’s new extension, you can find it in the Chrome Web Store here. As for me, I’m removing it and will be content with the stock weather widget on my phone or I’ll just look out the window to check the weather.