Brightkite Blog

Saying goodbye to check-ins, posts and streams


December 10th, 2010


We are entering the next stage of our evolution. We wrote in September about our renewed focus on Group Text, and our ambitions to be the default text messaging application on all phones.


We are about to roll out our new Brightkite Android application that includes some exciting new features, notably the ability for Brightkite to be your default text messaging app – handling ALL your messaging from one app, saving you money with free texting while giving you many more capabilities than regular texting:




Location sharing

+ More!

For the first time this will be a Brightkite app without check-in, posting or stream viewing functionality. Starting from 17th December, you can expect to see the check-in/posting and streams functions start to disappear from our apps and sites. These features were the defining element to our company 2 and 3 years ago, but we no longer believe they are sufficiently unique or defining to be our focus, so we are dropping them.


We know there are still many of you who use these features everyday and have enjoyed making and strengthening friendships using them, and losing these features is going to be a painful loss. Trust us, we do not take them away lightly, but we also know that we cannot do many things well at once, so believe it is essential to take out old features as we continue to tighten our focus on Group Text.


If you’d like to backup your old posts and check-ins, your data will be available until Dec, 31 2010 via RSS. You can use you favorite RSS reader (needs to support basic auth) to access the contents.


This URL will retrieve up to the 1,000 most recent items from your own stream. If you want to go further back in the your stream (or to pull posts in smaller chunks), message us @brightkite and we’ll tell you how.


We’ll be in touch with more details on the new Android app when it hits the store. As always, message us with questions or thoughts.


Team Brightkite.



Posted by lanky at 9:13 AM in Uncategorized Comments (130)


Get a $10 coupon today with JCPenney and Brightkite


December 7th, 2010




We’re pleased to announce our latest brand partnership – this time a seasonal badge promotional offer from our good friends at JCPenney.


Visit  JCPenney before Christmas Eve and share the location with your friends and you’ll instantly receive a $10 coupon to spend in the store (or online). But that’s not all. Each week we are giving away $25 and $100 gift cards, and one happy shopper will receive a $1,000 JCPenney shopping spree.


Just send a group text to any of your friends and set your location to a JCPenney store, or check-in at a store and you’ll receive the $10 coupon. Keep visiting the store, and level up the badge for more chances to win.


Level 1: $10 coupon, chance to win $25


Level 2: Chance to win $100


Level 3: Chance to win $1,000!


Keep an eye out for some JCPenney ads around our apps, clicking on them will tell you more about the program and show you your nearest JCPenney stores. Thanks to JCPenney for a great promotion, and happy holidays to you all.





Posted by lanky at 9:18 AM in Uncategorized Comments (6)


Track the Tourist > Win a trip to Venice, Italy!


November 16th, 2010




We’ve teamed up with The Tourist, the new movie starring Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp, to give you an exciting way to use Brightkite to try and win a trip for two to Venice, Italy!


All you need to do is keep your eyes peeled for ads for the movie, and then take a photo of an ad that you see.  Use Brightkite to message them to your friends or share them publicly, including the hashtag #THETOURIST. You’ll then be awarded The Tourist badge and automatically be entered into the sweeps. The more ads you share, the more chances you have of winning. You can only enter once per day.  Don’t miss out – the Track The Tourist program ends December 10th.




How to play…








Go to Brightkite to start pursuing The Tourist now!

For more information on how to play – go here.

Don’t have a Brightkite account yet? Then sign up here.


Posted by lanky at 9:02 AM in Uncategorized Comments (16)


7th Heaven: Brightkite’s Windows Phone 7 app now available


November 9th, 2010


There are 7 seas, 7 colors of the rainbow, 7 days in the week and now, with the launch of our Windows Phone 7 application, there are 7 ways to access Brightkite’s Group Text service.


Smartphones: We have native apps for Windows Phone 7, iPhone, Android and Nokia


Featurephones : We have a Mobile Website that you can access worldwide and full text messaging capabilities in the US and Canada.


Online: When you are in front of your computer, manage all your texting through


We owe a huge debt of thanks to long time Brightkiter Ian Rathbone who has built the WP7 app largely single-handed using our public API, and to Microsoft, who were gracious enough to get us a handset to test on this summer.


See some screenshots of the app below (the color scheme can be selected by the user – here shown in white on black).


WP7 users – we’d love to hear your feedback on the new app.









Posted by lanky at 7:35 AM in Uncategorized Comments (6)


Ding Dong. Its a Brightkite wedding!


November 2nd, 2010




Prepare yourself for a warm fuzzy feeling. Yesterday we got a message from our good friend @pfjk letting us know that there had been a Brightkite wedding this weekend!


Here’s the scoop. @pirotan and @nilulu met one year ago at a Halloween Kiteup in Tokyo. We featured some photos from the costume party a year ago. This weekend they got back together to swap rings and celebrate their wedding – in full costume of course. How cool is that?




Cutting the cake with an axe?




We think everyone should get married in a Brightkite shirt








Brightkite stickers are ideal for the back of your phone, or your upper arms. Pairs well with fishnets.


Brightkite is mainly about friends keeping in close contact with their friends – but its also a social melting pot at times, and its wonderful to see and hear new friendships being made. All the very best to @pirotan and @nilulu from all of us.



Posted by lanky at 1:48 PM in Uncategorized Comments (12)


The Evolution of Location


September 14th, 2010


Today we are rolling out a new home page, and wanted to take a moment to explain our focus as we evolve. Simply, we are focusing our efforts where we are seeing the fastest user growth, and where we believe we can build greatest long term value for you, our users.


Expanding on that a little, we pioneered the location based check-in over two years ago and millions of users have registered for Brightkite and a million of you continue to use our services each month. We said at the end of 2009 that we thought the check-in was becoming a commodity – and we believe that has now happened. The ability to seamlessly use your phone to tell your friends where you are and post this into a social network is a feature we expect to see everywhere, and not be one that defines any company. So what are we focusing on?


What are we focusing on?


Improving mobile messaging


Text messaging hadn’t altered for 20 years, but we’ve changed that. A principle focus is to push the boundaries of text messaging with groups, location, images and more.


Sharing location


Location is the foundation of Brightkite and remains a core focus. You will see location in everything we do – from product to local discounts and promotions. We allow you to share your location broadly to your social networks and with Group Text privately to a hand-picked group of friends.




We will continue to ensure that we snap you to the right place – making sure that we have the broadest, most accurate selection of places and can propose the right place(s) based on your location and location history.


Where are we going to partner?


Social graphs


We don’t have ambitions to become the latest social graph. We believe that you carry around a great social graph in your pocket (your phone’s contact list) and recognize that you’ve spent a lot of effort building out at least one other social network (for many of us this is Facebook). So, we wont require your friends to join Brightkite to use the service and we’ll leverage the networks of friends you’ve already built elsewhere.




We pioneered the check-in several years ago, but as we’ve said believe it is now a commodity. Expect to see less and less emphasis on checking in on Brightkite, and associated streams of user content. Where appropriate, we’ll support checking in to third party services  like Facebook and Foursquare. This is an extension of the philosophy we started with in the Spring. Keep a look out for some great new Brightkite features using the Facebook API for check-ins.


As always, we’d love to hear your feedback as we grow and evolve.



Posted by lanky at 2:15 PM in Uncategorized Comments (13)


Get $5 off* when you check-in at McDonald’s, courtesy of Brightkite


September 2nd, 2010




Following on from programs with the likes of  Starbucks, The CW, Sharpie and Dentyne, we’re pleased to announce one of our biggest brand plays to date – a  love triangle of McDonald’s, Visa and Brightkite.


Visa is the easier way to pay for your McDonald’s, and to make this point McDonald’s and Visa got together to launch the ‘Easy’ badge. The first 500 people to earn the badge  receive a $5 Visa gift card, courtesy of Visa and Brightkite – so hurry down to your nearest McDonald’s and remember to check-in.




To highlight the campaign, we are also running a location and activity targeted ad campaign, that launches an on-screen spinner that highlights the McDonald’s dollar menu. The Brightkite campaign is integrated with other media including online and out of home.


Please support McDonald’s, Visa and the rest of our sponsor brands who help keep Brightkite a free service. We hope you enjoy your McDonald’s, your badge and your Visa giftcard.


*The $5 Visa giftcard is limited to the first 500 qualified users.



Posted by lanky at 3:20 PM in Uncategorized Comments (7)


Catch her if you can! Win an iPad with the Nikita badge from The CW


August 10th, 2010


We just launched our latest brand partnership with The CW for their new show – Nikita.




Your mission is to snap pictures of Nikita whenever or wherever you see her – that means in TV spots, on billboards in your hometown, in your favorite magazines – you can even report it if you hear her on the radio. Each time you find Nikita, you increase your chances of winning your very own iPad or a trip to the International Spy Museum in Washington, DC.


How it works


There are 3 ways to play:


If you hear her on the radio or see her on TV check in to Brightkite and make a post including a hashtag with the name of the station, for example #SYFY

If you see her on a poster or in a magazine snap her photo and post it to Brightkite. Include a hashtag with the name of the magazine or the location you have seen her, for example #POSTER

Have you spotted her online? Post a hashtag with the name of the site you are on, for example #TMZ



There will also be special, secret missions that increase your chances of winning – but you’ll have to enlist now if you want to be briefed on those.  Join in the hunt for Nikita now – visit to check out the leaderboard and full instructions, or text NIKITA to 41414.





Posted by lanky at 10:12 AM in Uncategorized Comments (12)


Group Text on fuego – and now on Android


August 6th, 2010




Yikes! We just ran the numbers, and the number of Group Text users in July was more than triple the number of people making Brightkite posts. We launched Group Text in the spring to give you a more private, text based way of sharing location, and it’s on a tear. The average Group Text user is now sending over 20 messages per day. We hope to see these numbers step up further, as we just launched the feature for our Android app…


We’ve updated Brightkite for Android, adding Group Text, other new features and many bug fixes. Let’s dive in!


The most significant improvement is the addition of  Group Text – so every Android user can chat with any 25 friends at once. Group Text from Brightkite gives you free, unlimited, group text messaging from your Android phone. Start a conversation with a group of friends (from your phone contacts or your Brightkite friends) – when anyone replies, everyone gets the message. Use Group text to share photos and (or course) share your location privately.






We’ve  made over 100 other improvements and bug fixes to Brightkite for Android:


New Post Screen makes it easier to share where you are with your friends

Improved UI across the app

Huge improvements in how we handle photo taking, rotation, saving and posting. Sharing photos is easier and faster than ever

Better compatibility with new Android devices like the HTC Evo and Droid X

Compiled for Android 2.1 devices (but we support 1.5 and 2.0 devices as well)

Brightkite for Android is available now in the Android Marketplace. Click here to download it now.



Posted by adam at 9:36 AM in Android Comments (3)


Wishing Martin all the best.


July 23rd, 2010




I’m sad to say that Martin May, one of the co-founders of Brightkite, is moving on. Martin (@hiro) describes himself as “Brightkite founder. The man behind the curtain. Jack of all trades, master of none”. The first three are right, that last one is false modesty. Martin helped drive our strategy and was the lead technologist from day one.   Martin embodies the definition of an entrepreneur, and his love of innovation is driving him to pastures new.  We’re sad to see Martin go, but also wish him all the best in the future. Martin will remain an advisor to the company and a significant shareholder – so his influence over us will remain strong.


For those of you who don’t know Martin, he’s a European (ever wondered why distances in BK are measured in meters?) transplanted to Denver, which he now loyally calls home. Outside work, Martin fills his time with his family, hockey, food and beer – often simultaneously. Just browse through his stream.