Brightkite fails the iPhone Test

Location based microblogging Brightkite gained a lot of attention when it launched in closed beta last year. Brightkite offers location focused microblogging that linked a Twitter style short message service with photos and a users given location.

It was the first location based network I used, and for a short time at least I regularly updated it with my location. But typing your location into a mobile phone can be a bit tedious, and coupled with the need to email photos taken on my phone to Brightkite as opposed to the service being simply able to upload them from the phone, was enough to drive me away. And I wasn’t alone, a lot of the Brightkite user base that I know from earlier this year have given up as well. Not everyone, and there are a few people who still religiously use it, but it fell out of favor.

With the new 3G iPhone supporting GPS, it was an opportunity waiting to happen for Brightkite, an opportunity they still haven’t embraced. A post on the BrightKite blog makes excuses about not having access to a 3G iPhone pre-launch, but my understanding is that the development kit for the iPhone 2.0 software has been available for months. The result: Brightkite, as the screenshots above show, still requires manual entry for location, and still can’t upload photos directly form the iPhone.

I hope that Brightkite gets its act together and that it’s not too late. Geolocation focused services are possibly the next big wave in microblogging/ social networking services, and the first to market with iPhone applications will naturally obtain a strong head start.