Brightkite Kills Its Check-In Functionality To Focus On Group Texting

In what may be the first high-profile casualty of the location wars, Brightkite, an early player in the space, has today announced they’re officially killing off the check-in functionality of their service.

Brightkite noted back in September that they’d likely be partnering on check-ins with one of the other major location players going forward. At the time, they said: “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.

And now they’ve set a date on the execution: one week from today. And in the latest post, they’re no longer even mentioning any potential check-in partnerships (though they do note that location sharing will be a part of the new app). From their blog:

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.

The service notes that if you’d like to keep all of your old check-in data, you should visit this link before December 31 to get your last 1,000 check-ins (if you need more, you’re supposed to contact them directly).

This pivot follows co-founders Martin May and Brady Becker leaving earlier this year to start a new company (Forklymore here). We’ve also heard talk of layoffs at the company recently.

R.I.P. @brightkite :) Now I know what @dens must have felt like when Google shut down Dodgeball,” May tweeted today upon reading the Brightkite blog post announcing the news.

Going forward, the focus for Brightkite will mainly be on the success they’ve had with group texting. Their new ambition is to be “the default text messaging application on all phones,” they note.

Update: Or as one Brightkite user explained via an image: