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This article was published on December 3, 2008

    BrightKite Opens Up to the Public

    BrightKite Opens Up to the Public
    Andrew Hyde
    Story by

    Andrew Hyde

    Andrew Hyde is the Community Director of TechStars, a seed stage accelerator for startups (mentorship and a small amount of funding for grea Andrew Hyde is the Community Director of TechStars, a seed stage accelerator for startups (mentorship and a small amount of funding for great teams). He lives in the outdoor and startup mecca of Boulder, Colorado, which means he writes when most of The Next Web's readers are asleep. He is founder of Startup Weekend and VCwear. Follow Andrew on Twitter or see his LinkedIn and Blog for more information.

    Just after midnight BrightKite, a location based social network launched out of their private beta into an open registration. In their words:

    Brightkite is a location-based social network. In real time you can see where your friends are and what they’re up to. Depending on your privacy settings you can also meet others nearby.

    Think of Twitter mashed with Dodgeball with pictures, geotagging and threaded commenting.  Yeah, I know, another Twitter like service, but the location and feature set makes this app a stand out.

    Location checkins are done attaching you to businesses, cross streets or user defined placemarks.  Notifications of nearby friends checking in happen via email, SMS (international too) and via their web interface.  Users can directly message each other via the iPhone app or txt message, without exposing phone numbers.

    Privacy is always a huge concern with anything dealing with location.  BrightKite has some pretty advanced privacy features.  You opt into each checkin and opt to share it with trusted friends or the general public.

    One of the most interesting features is the BrightKite wall, where places can display all of their recent check ins, photos and notes via fullscreen flash (imagine this at a concert or coffeeshop).  Users can check in and join BrightKite via txt message to the wall.

    I’ve been using their application for a year now, and have found it to be incredibly compelling.  Their developer API is open, and robust (their iPhone app is built on top of this).  Here is a demo from their iPhone app, a new version is expected soon:

    Disclosure: I’ve known the BrightKite guys from before they were accepted to TechStars, where I work.