When IBM bought the Weather Company in 2016, it wasn’t clear how IBM would leverage the company’s specialties — dozens of forecasters, tens of thousands of weather stations and a website that drew millions of people to stories with headlines such as, “You won’t believe what divers found in this underwater cave.”

IBM has parted the clouds on why it got into the weather business, announcing that it will launch a forecast model this year. Given IBM’s technology prowess and the Weather Company’s data, the model could boast the best short-term forecasts in the world. Peter Neilley, IBM’s senior vice president for global forecasting, said the model “will be the most accurate source of short term (1-12 hours ahead) weather forecasts in places of the world” that are underserved. Places such as South America and Africa, where a dearth of weather observations makes it all but impossible to generate accurate forecasts.

Google advances touchless technology

Though it debuted back in 2002, “Minority Report” highlighted technologies like driverless cars, hyper-targeted advertising and robotic insects — all of which exist in 2019. Now, it appears Steven Spielberg’s cinematic premonition may have included another technology that is potentially one step closer to reality: gesture-controlled sensing technology.

Translated to English: technology that would allow us to control televisions, smartphones and computers without touching them. For years, Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects lab has been seeking to create motion sensors that might be used in similar technology, an effort dubbed “Project Soli.”

The Federal Communications Commission has now approved Google’s request to “operate the Soli sensors at higher power levels.” The FCC said the change would “serve the public interest by providing for innovative device control features using touchless hand gesture technology.” It said users can operate “Google Soli devices” aboard aircraft — but they remain “subject to FAA regulations.”

App taps social circles to get you from A to B

A tech company launched an app that offers public and private options to help people get around, including subway, buses, bike-share, ride-hailing companies and even temporary carpooling arrangements using a person’s social network.

The SoMo app — short for social mobility — is the work of HERE Technologies, a company specializing in GPS-related applications. Liad Itzhak, a senior vice president, said the app supports more than 350 cities around the world. It recently added 15 cities, including Los Angeles, Las Vegas and New Orleans in the U.S., and plans to add about 5 to 10 cities a month.

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