But it doesn't seem like Google is going as far as Topix did in finding local references in non-local sources... We had a geoKB with named entities for every town in the US, and would disambiguate the references in the stories. Our geoKB knew the name of every street in the country. As well as every bridge, tunnel, body of water, hospital, school, jail... we even had a database of mayor names in our local KB (got that yet goog? :-) Sometimes helpful to tell the Springfields apart.
I'd routinely see local stories from crazy sources... stuff that I never would have found any other way. My town (san carlos, ca) once was the cover story on a magazine called Government Procurement, because our city hall had put solar cells all over their roof. I never would have seen that story without topix.
This was pretty neat stuff when Topix launched in January, 2004. Now if Google just added 50,000 vetted local blogs to the mix, and a community with 100k posts/day, they'll have something. :-)