Outside.in – Local Search, With A Local Voice
The local search arena is currently the most exciting and dynamic area of search. But when I try a local search engine I always feel like there’s something missing. What is it? The Locals! Sure, every engine has a map, there’s a list of local sandwich shops or pizza parlors or hotels or whatever and all the businesses are ‘locally owned’, but there’s no conversation going on. No truckdrivers available to ask about where to grab the best bellybuster. The experience is devoid of local flavor.
Outside.in wants to change that. And not by simply adding a comment box for “user reviews”. The creators know that local content is constantly being created, and rather than simply aggregating business listings, they’ve created a site that manages to incorporate user content in such a way that you actually feel like locals are providing you with real information, not a simple business profile.
From the site:
Every day, the web collects new essential information about your local community: the open house around the corner; a restaurant review in the local paper; a rant from a parent about a declining public school; a concert that’s just been announced; a police report on a recent break-in; gossip about a celebrity sighting. But while that information is all grounded in a real-world place, on the web it is scattered everywhere: in blogs, online newspapers, discussion threads, government sites.
outside.in is designed to change all that, as a bridge between information space and real-world space — a place to see in a single glance all the interesting things that are happening around you.
What’s more, when I looked at the site, I saw, “the best way to discover conversations that are going on in your neighborhood”. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve mentioned the importance of conversations. Local search needs to be local, not just a group of local listings. Local search needs more than just business listings. Local search needs local conversation.