Read on for a glimpse of what the site now looks and feels like, as well as an exhaustive list of new features and improvements.
First of all, Brighkite's upgrades are more than just a pretty new face. They also include marks of unseen quality, such as enhancements to Placesnapping, "the ability for Brightkite to find the place where you are, and specifically, to do so more quickly and more easily," according to a recent Brightkite blog post.
Other improvements include the following:
New Friendship Model
Instead of a "friend" model where users must approve friendship requests in order to see one another's updates, Brightkite 2.0 has allowed for a more asymmetrical relationship. "This means that you can add someone to your friends without them having to approve you or friend you back," says the site. "This lets people you may not actually be friends with receive your updates while keeping your friends list manageable and relevant." The follower/fan model Brightkite is adopting here is comparable to what one sees on sites such as Digg and Twitter, and will likely make the whole experience more fun for more users.
And also, users can choose notification options for individual friends:
Get Satisfaction Gets Dumped
"Get Satisfaction was a great start for us," states the Brightkite website, "but we sorely needed more features without the hefty price tag." User support, bug reporting, and the like will now be handled through a Tender Support site.
Non Geo-Tagged Posts
With the new "Somewhere in the world" option, users are now free to post notes and photos that are not associated with a geographical location by clicking the X button in the "Pick a Place" section of the post form. Non geo-tagged posts will show the location as "somewhere in the world."
New Stream and Navigation
Brightkite has taken their three-pronged stream (Me & My Friends, Around Me, Universe) and condensed them into a single stream with drop-down menus for filtering options, including filtering by location and type of post.
Messages, Comments, Mentions, Friends, and Account Settings are now at the bottom of the page.
The Check-In button also got a makeover:
On the new Brightkite, or Brightkite 2.0, users can add a place if it doesn't show up in search results. To do so, users simply click the "Not in this list?" button at the bottom of the list, then add all necessary details.
Users can see all of the third party apps with access their accounts. Then can also choose to revoke access to any of these apps as desired.
Users can now easily browse through other Brightkite users based on a number of different filter options, including age, gender, location, and relationship to the user (friends, fans, or everyone).
Users will also see a small thumbs up/thumbs down icon set in the top right corner of each post. Although expression of approval for users' posts is encouraged, the site gives a common-sense caveat. "Be careful how you use the thumbs down, nobody likes to be handed a turd." Eww.
Brighkite 2.0 brings users a kinder, simpler privacy option. According to the site, "You have the option to share your check ins and posts with just your friends or with everybody. This option is available on every post you make and it can be changed on a per post basis." Also, within the post or check-in, a user can be street-address specific or metro-area vague, depending on personal preference.
And that's the new Brightkite, folks! What do you think so far? Will the asymmetrical friendship model, enhanced browsing capabilities, and simpler interface keep you - and other users - coming back?