Much speculation has been made about the sandbox. But does it still exist with recent updates and a panda dominated algo. Or for that matter did it ever truly exist. I think google have gone on record to deny the sandbox but certainly there did seem a long curve for new sites to rank. What do webmasters think of the sandbox in the current climate?
IMO, the "sandbox" was never a literal sandbox, with a set time limit etc. Instead it was an effect of the (then newly introduced) need to build authority and trust before a site could rank. Today, freshness factors have modified the situation, but there is still a need to build authority and trust, especially for query terms where freshness is not a strong factor.