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Meet people around you the easy way with BrightKite

BrightKite tells you who to hang out with based on location.

BrightKite is a service that's not showing off its stuff at the Web 2.0 Expo but getting a lot of buzz from some other bloggers here. It's a microblogging tool the likes of Twitter, Pownce, et al with some handy location-based features. What's the point you ask? It's got a whole lot more social networking built-in from the start. It also shares one of the things that made Meetro and Twinkle so cool, by letting you see what people around you are doing.

Like Fireball you can attach your current position to small 140 character posts. It also lets you see who's around you based on when they "checked in." Users can create for places they frequent often in order to avoid having to type it out each time they post. After setting where they are, others in the vicinity will be able to view those posts in a cluster--complete with how close the other users are by the meter. What's especially neat is that you can set it to give you notifications on when things have been posted to your general vicinity.

My one qualm is that setting where you are is not currently an automatic process--you have to manually go in and set your position from one of the pre-sets or add a new location on the spot. Compared to Twinkle (review) which uses geo positioning via cell tower or Wi-Fi connection, having to enter this information in manually makes the process seem archaic and tedious. The good news is that automatic location is coming later this year when BrightKite begins to roll out its mobile apps, starting with a native iPhone application launching in June.

Also in the works is a way to find new friends based on your location habits. Founder Michael May tells me he's working on a way to let people connect based on percentage of familiarity. Not to be confused with a dating site, BrightKite will simply cross reference your locational habits with other users and give you a "neighbor score." Get Starbucks every morning and post a message about it? In theory BrightKite could hook you up with other people who do the same.

BrightKite is currently in private beta. You can sign-up to gain entry here.

Tell everyone what you're doing with words or pictures, then geo-tag it with BrightKite. (click to enlarge) CNET Networks