Yahoo’s got a growing interest in the weather across South Africa, here’s why

Yahoo weather featured

Two years after launching its acclaimed weather app, Yahoo is gradually taking interest in displaying weather from locations outside major cities. Up until now Yahoo Weather has only been successful in showcasing beautiful Flickr snaps from big cities. But what about Benoni residents who don’t associate Johannesburg’s Ponte Tower with what it looks like outside? Or surfers at Noordhoek for whom a cloudy Table Mountain looks different from that pic taken from Signal Hill?

The Yahoo Weather Team is aggressively scouring its photo-sharing website for weather images from lesser-known locations. At a time when millions of location-specific photos are shared daily, Flickr is losing out to more popular sites like Instagram. But Instagram hasn’t (yet) built a weather app, and while Yahoo Weather is still one of the most beautiful ones out there, it’s asking South Africans to feed them more photos from all over the country.

If you’re a Flickr user keen on weather snaps, you might have already received an e-mail from Yahoo asking your permission to use it. Because I took an unnecessary amount of photos over a weekend in Noordhoek (a small seaside town near Cape Town), Yahoo found it and asked permission to use it.


Yahoo is doing this as they realise the importance of location-based apps that can show you the exact conditions and sights around you, not those of your nearest urban area. The success of Yahoo’s apps is a key part to how the company, and its CEO Marissa Mayer, hopes to take back its market share from Google and other tech giants.

Apple’s design guru, Jony Ive, was so gaga for Yahoo Weather that he awarded it with an Apple Design Award during Apple’s annual developers conference in 2013. The app’s success is built on two factors: design and Flickr. The team responsible for its design figured out how to make weather information text and graphics slide over a static photo, a technique called parallax. While most other weather apps have a standard image of the sun displayed when it’s sunny, Yahoo pulls in images from Flickr.

What this means is that instead of simply displaying a blue sky when it’s sunny in Durban, the snap from Flickr will also include a landmark from the South African coastal city. This enhances the app experience — seeing the Moses Mabhida Stadium instead of just a blue sky — is part of the reason why the app has become such a firm favourite.

So if you’d like to get your photos of Springbok, Hermanus or Umhlanga out there, now’s the time to join Flickr’s Project Weather. You’ll also be contributing to Yahoo’s success, Marissa Mayer’s happiness and South Africa’s beautiful landscapes, of course.



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