While real-time search gets all the attention these days, there’s also increased interest in hyperlocal search. Where real-time search answers What’s happening right now?, hyperlocal search answers the question, What’s happening right here? It’s like local search on steroids, you could say.
Outside.in has, for several years, been somewhat like a clearinghouse of hyperlocal information and services — collecting and publishing local news feeds, and providing tools for local bloggers, for example.
With its recent relaunch, Outside.in has placed itself squarely in the realm of hyperlocal search engine. Aside from a new design, Outside.in made three fairly significant upgrades that impact hyperlocal search and discovery:
- you can search by city, ZIP, neighborhood, address, and place from a single search box
- you can do a keyword search within any of those same geographic options
- you can get RSS feeds for any search you conduct and any page on the site
The ability to search by place and keyword (see first two bullet items above) makes for a convenient option that’s similar to the “search nearby” option that Google Maps and others provide. But unlike maps, with Outside.in you can search for local news and information.
The limiting factor in all this is, of course, the amount of hyperlocal content available. There’s not much in my smallish hometown, so Outside.in tends to surface content from our local paper and TV stations, as well as the local blogs that my wife and I run. But in larger cities with more active hyperlocal publishing, this new emphasis on hyperlocal search might offer a compelling answer to the question, What’s happening right here?