Gone are the days when you need to enter a local chat room to meet new friends or have to send a text message to find your current crew. Geo-location applications like Moximity, Loopt, and Twinkle are sprouting up at a feverish pitch. Enter — Brightkite!!
Brightkite is the 7th major geo-location application to leap into the market. Here’s how it works: using the GPS in the phone Brightkite pinpoints your location anywhere in the world. “We like to think of a Brightkite like a beacon revealing your location,” says Brady Becker co-founder of the privately funded company.
Those who choose to, can share information about their location with friends and even meet nearby Brightkite users. The application only requires that users have a mobile phone — it doesn’t even have to be an iPhone. “We want Brightkite available to everyone, not just those with fancy phones or certain carriers,” says Becker of the free app.
In such a crowded segment of the market, companies like Brightkite must distinguish themselves from their competitors. Brightkite’s distinction may lie with its user interaction. Becker says, “You can interact with Brightkite via iPhone, web, mobile web, SMS, DASHNavigation, SPOT GPS, and many other devices,” a statement that is sure to make it a standout in the jam-packed house of geo-location app developers. “Of course if you have a better phone the user experience is better.”
Brightkite is dedicated to user experience. The company has an active blog where they communicate with their users. The Brightkite team consists of 10 people, including Becker and co-founder Martin May. “We believe in keeping the team small and efficient. Our size gives us the ability to turn on a dime, iterate quickly, and dedicate extraordinary attention to one feature or issue at a time” says the developer.
Brightkite enters the market with a few tricks up its sleeve. For one, it has a pre-established user base. There are already more than 50,000 registered users on their website. It makes use of existing technology, like SMS integration, to enhance the user experience. Brightkite hasn’t settled into an Apple-only market. The developers are actively working on applications for Blackberry and Gphone.
Critics have expressed similar concerns as with other geo-location based apps. First, you have to get all of your current friends to sign up in order to communicate with them. Second, some parents tend to see them as potentially dangerous. Many users are teenagers, and are essentially providing their name, location and picture to strangers.
However, Brady quickly retorts that Brightkite has comprehensive privacy controls and allows users complete control of who sees what.
When Becker is not extolling the benefits of Brightkite, he likes to check out Spore, Shazam and Pandora on his iPhone. For more information about Brightkite you can check out one of the links below.