Checking in to Brightkite

May 13, 2008

I’ve been using Brightkite for several weeks now, and I rather enjoy it. What is it? Well, it’s a GPS-less location tracking service, of sorts. In its actual usage it is much like Twitter. You register your cellphone , and whenever you arrive at a new location  you can ”check in”. You just SMS your current address to the service, and it registers that. You can also search for businesses and pick the correct one. It levereges the Google Maps API for location degection based on the address you provide. Once you’re checked in to a location, you can post notes, little messages in the same vein as twitter, which will be listed both globally, and within the location’s stream. You can also send in pictures to a location.

Of course, you can keep track of where your friends are and their various posts. There is some rudimentary permissions control. There are three groups: Public, Friends, Trusted Friends; and you can decide which can see your exact location, or only the city you checked in, and which can see the notes you post.

The system notifies you of people checked in nearby, if you so wish, within a radius you specify.

My favourite feature of the whole thing is its replication to Twitter. That is, any post you make to Brightkite also appear in twitter, with a little URL appended, which when clicked shows your location on a map.

As I was checking in at my work place I had an idea. So I took a screenshot of their check-in button (I hope they will forgive me that transgression). Now I can display it on some site, and garnish it with a check-in link to whatever location is related to that site. For example, on a conference page, you can just click that button to indicate you have arrived, and everyone at the conference on Brightkite will be notified. Here’s an example of it checking you in at MIT (requires Brightkite account):


Cool, eh?

Brightkite brings location-aware augmented reality one step closer for those without convenient GPS.

Want an invite? I’ve got some left. Leave a comment somehow containing your email (if I don’t know it), and if I like you enough, I’ll send you one!

Checking in to Brightkite - May 13, 2008 - Michael Katsevman