Forgot to mention that we finally restored search to outside.in. We had a pretty lame search function in the original iteration of the site, which we decided to just kill off because it wasn't very useful (and, perhaps because it wasn't useful, no one was using it.) But we decided a few weeks ago to do a little mod of Google site search, which turns out to work very well. It still doesn't do all the fancy things that it will do down the line (like restricting your query to a fixed geographic area, or listing places by category in the results), but it's a pretty great resource already. We've got over half a million pages of content from around the web that have been geo-located in some fashion, so if you're trying to find out what people are saying about a place in your community, searching outside.in's a good place to start.
Speaking of outside.in, there have been some cool articles/posts in the last few weeks that really get what we're trying to do with the service. I think there's a natural tendency to imagine outside.in as a kind of neighborhood newspaper stitched together from various sources online, but in reality, it's a much more ambitious project than that (though it's hard enough to do the neighborhood news thing!) The real goal is to build out a geographically-aware system for tracking everything that's related to location on the web, so you can do all sorts of things with the service -- get an alert anytime there's news about a crime in your area, or target advertising to fifteen demographically similar zip codes around the country, or keep up with all the news about organic food in your city. As we've built out more of the site, it seems like people are starting to see the ultimate vision more clearly -- as in this great post from Matt McAlister, "Why Outside.In May Have The Local Solution." and this post from Jillian Burt at PopMatters, triggered by our search announcement, "The Search For Meaning Begins at Outside.in."
Then there are the questions that are best left unanswered, like this post from the TimesOnline in the UK: "Is this the new Facebook?" If you figure that it took us about a year to get a working search function, then I'd say we're on target to be the next Facebook sometime around 2018. I hope the Web still exists then!