Invitations are no longer required and sign up is now open everyone. In addition, you can now invite your friends to join Brightkite without restriction.
Even though we are announcing the public beta today, keep watch over the next few weeks for a significant iPhone update, additional mobile support, additions to our API and a host of new features and improvements.
Ignoring the fact that they’re still calling it a beta, I think this is good news. I hope it means that more users will join the service, because it still seems pretty empty at the moment, at least for an Edmontonian like myself! Looking at “People Near Me” page shows only seven people in the area (4000 meters) and only three of them have been active in the last day or so.
Maybe opening up to the public won’t be enough to get people to join though. Perhaps Brightkite should add support for the newly launched Facebook Connect? Or heck, maybe Twitter should acquire and integrate Brightkite. That would make me happy!
My favorite way to use Brightkite at the moment is via the relatively new iPhone/iPod touch native app. It’s fast, and works quite well. The only way it could be better is if it ran in the background and could check me in automagically.
The issues I noted in my previous post still exist:
- SMS doesn’t work in Canada, so I can’t update with a text message.
- Mobile email is picky about format, both subject and body.
- I can see all the places I have visited and how many times I have visited each one, but I still think it would be neat to see a route for a given period of time.
That said, they’ve got a pretty good API now, they support Fire Eagle, and they’ve made a bunch of nice improvements to the UI. Brightkite seems to be growing and improving, albeit slowly.