November 14, 2008

Brightkite – People. Places. Friends.


It didn’t take long after the near-overnight success of Twitter for there to be new sites that have a similar goal in mind. Brightkite is a site that lets people know of your current location. By using a “check in” function you can let friends or colleagues know where you are. Obviously, this takes some remote capability, like an iPhone, or else there’s no way to update the site (until we’re all implanted with computer chips).

So what’s a “check in”? Users of Brightkite can either add an address of their current location or type in a keyphrase (like “Starbucks” along with a street) and the service is updated. Unfortunately, there are some problems with this, as it’s not entirely efficient to have to send a text message about location to a website in order to alert friends or colleagues. It would be much easier and more seamless if your location was updated via GPS tracking or other type of automated mobile tracking.

Practical Uses:

  • You’re going to have a night on the town bar-hopping and you want to let your friends know where you are and when
  • You’re a businessperson on a tight schedule and you want to alert an assistant about where you are throughout the day
  • You want to hook up with friends who may be in the area, and Brightkite can tell you who’s nearby

Insider Tips:

  • Get your friends on Brightkite too. One of Brightkite’s limitations is that it’s fairly new so a lot of people don’t have accounts, compared to major sites like Facebook or Twitter
  • Connect Brightkite to other social networking accounts like Twitter or Myspace, so changes in Brightkite show up throughout your network
  • Try and find your actual address: easier than instant messaging a keyword and waiting for a response back
  • Use it like Twitter to update what you’re doing, not just where you are

What we liked:

  • It’s free
  • It does what it sets out to do very well. You can see a long list of friends and where they are at any moment
  • It can be used as a chat room so you can meet people in your area
  • Lets you post photos, as well as short notes

What we didn’t like:

  • The main problem: it’s mostly unknown so it doesn’t have a lot of users
  • Plugging in location is too user-intensive. At some point, location will have to be automated. Mobile devices are consistently updating this feature
  • It should expand into more expansive writing than just short notes


Company Info:

  • Launched: March 2008
  • Privately Held
  • Headquarters: Denver, CO
  • Founded by: Brady Becker and Martin May
  • Web site:


  • Free

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