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School of the Future

outside.in

Outsidein_1 Steven Berlin Johnson, author of Everything Bad is Good for You, recently unveiled his newest project: outside.in.

It's a location-based site that pledges to "collectively build the geographic Web, neighborhood by neighborhood" by aggregating local information from blogs, online newspapers, discussion threads and government sites, among others.

Visitors start the outside.in experience by providing an address (street/city/zip or neighborhood) of interest and the site returns all the real-world conversations, discussions and news items (think restaurant openings, crime reports, open houses, little league scores...) about that area that it can find. It has a neat Google Maps-based dashboard that lets you "drive" through neighborhood streets and drill down on different locations to see what people are talking about.

The neighborhood data is limited right now, since outside.in is relying on user input to build out the content: visitors can submit stories or blogs for inclusion on the site, and provide relevant tags for indexing. Submissions are currently reviewed by an editorial staff, but outside.in plans to offer a public submission queue where registered users can approve new stories. 

outside.in is a clever site with a simple interface; it has the potential to be a sort of wikipedia for hyper-local content, and I'm interested to see how it grows.

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