Brightkite, easy to use, location based "Twitter" and photos

Long title, huh? I was going to write out a thoughtful post about Brightkite and why I’m kind of warming up to it, but Herschell’s vertigo-addled brain did all the work for me:

My first text to the brightkite servers was relatively painless and took the same amount of time as it would to tweet it (on Twitter). All I did was send “? LOCATION” to BrightKite’s SMS # and in seconds, BKite (see what I did there? heheh) asked me to verify WHICH LOCATION, in which I replied “1? and PRESTO CHANGE-O! Internets! YAY. Bonus points for the seamless integration with my Twitter acct! HOORAH.

Let me put my use case Friday evening here. Me and Jacqui are hanging out at one our favorite places for drinks downtown, a champagne bar. I have already made a “contact” in my iPhone for the Brightkite service called “bk”.

I send an SMS to ‘bk’ with the following:

@Pop's for champagne

to which the servers reply with a listing of the possible matches and their addresses–the correct location was the first. So I reply with:


And like magic, Brightkite has updated my current location, what business I’m at, broadcasts that to Twitter (which I have previously approved), and even updates my location in FireEagle which could, in turn update many other geo-spatial services that support FireEagle!

The real tipping point for this sort of thing will be in June of this year when Apple releases iPhone OS 2.0 and we can start running 3rd party applications.

Source: Steve Jobs’ slides from March 6 SDK event

Why then? You may ask. Sure, there are cell phones out there now that have GPS built in that allow you to do some of this cool stuff. But there were also a lot of cell phones in the past 10 years with “web browsers” and mobile browsing didn’t catch on in a BIG way until Apple made it easy and powerful by porting Safari to a mobile platform.

So with 3rd party applications, and even without real GPS, developers will be able to get a “good enough” location on your iPhone and transmit it wherever you want. I might be sending mine to Brightkite, or FireEagle. Or using it to geo-tag the photos I snap on my iPhone and send to Flickr.

And speaking of photos, you can email photos to BrightKite from your phone and they get tagged with your current location. It’s only short leap of deduction that BrightKite could relay those photos onto Flickr with geo-encoding intact.

I am really looking forward to June!