Mobile social networks have come a long way since Google acquired Dodgeball back in 2005 as both mobile devices and online product offerings have improved. Twitter and other mobile enabled lifestreaming and communication products have taken off as users have grown more accustom to text messaging. That said, I finally got around to give, the Colorado-based startup Brightkite a try and was impressed by it.
Brightkite looks to create real-time location-based social networking. Leveraging mobile phones and text messaging Brightkite makes it easy to update your status similar to Twitter or Facebook thus creating a location-based status lifestream. Brightkite also offers users the ability to post comments related to a location as well as connect with others that you might not know, that are nearby your current location. It also makes it easy to send photos and relate them to a current location.
Brightkite does a great job making it easy to find other user to connect with as you can find others nearby that you might night know, can search for friends and places and also can even plug in your twitter usersname and Brightkite finds your friends that also have Brightkite accounts.
Brightkite does raise some privacy concerns as Brightkite prompts users to checkin and give a current location which could be as detailed as an exact address or as vague as a city and state. I think this is a situation where users just need to use common sense as to giving up their exact location. It appears that Brightkite offers users a number of options when it comes to protecting the your privacy.
I did have a few issues figuring out how to post my location but figured it out after poking around a little bit but I noticed a few of my friends had similar issues so I don't feel as bad about it. Overall, Brightkite is feature rich and offers a blend a number of lifestreaming services into one clean interface. I think it is definitely a product to watch as it could take off, especially if Twitter continues to experience performance woes.