Coordinate-sharing site Brightkite announced a beta API that could put them way ahead of Yahoo and FireEagle … if only enough developers get access to it.
Brightkite calls itself a location-based social network. Friends “check in” as they move about town, post messages and upload photos. The details of its API are minimal. At least one site, Socialthing, has integrated with Brightkite.
As developers clamor to create location-based services, Brightkite has the opportunity to become a platform as well as a service. The site already has significant adoption among the techies, so their API could be really big. The same people who are users of their service will be early adopters of their API.
Yahoo’s FireEagle is a similar platform, but in extremely-limited beta. Brightkite, also in beta, has an opportunity to leapfrog as the place people store their location. The first API to be generally available will have a huge advantage amongst developers eager to code websites, Facebook applications, and iPhone apps to take advantage of reading and writing location data.
We hope we see more details about — and more access to — the Brightkite API soon, before they become a sad footnote of innovation, like Dodgeball. The similar place-sharing site was the talk of geekfest SXSW before being acquired by Google in 2005. A lack of engineering resources left the site to languish amid a geocoded gold rush. The founders left The Goog, frustrated, in 2007.