Monday, May 25, 2009

SEATTLE | I am running late. I’m stuck in traffic. I’m stopping by the market for a bottle of wine. I’m circling for a parking space. I’m just down the block. I’m right outside.

Today, people trade these little updates with a string of cell phone calls and text messages. But companies including Google Inc. are betting that will change as more smart phones come with GPS technology.

Glympse Inc., a Seattle-area startup, is the latest in the field. Its application, also called Glympse, lets smart-phone users send a message and a link to a map marking their location to anyone in their address book.

On a computer, recipients can watch in real time as the sender circles the block looking for an open parking space. (On a mobile browser, recipients would have to hit refresh.)

Glympse users can save oft-repeated messages, such as Dad’s daily confirmation that he’s picked up his daughter from day care and is on the way home. Glympses can be set to expire, preventing recipients from tracking senders’ moves for longer than desired.

The startup — founded last year by three Microsoft Corp. veterans Bryan Trussel, Jeremy Mercer and Steve Miller — hopes to set itself apart from similar programs such as Loopt and Google Latitude by not requiring Glympse users to set up a new social network. Recipients don’t even need to download the program, although they get a slicker interface if they do.

By contrast, Google’s program works only if everyone uses its Gmail service, and Loopt requires users to download the application and set up a network of friends.

Glympse launched a free “beta” test version of the service Tuesday for T-Mobile’s G1 Android phone. Mr. Trussel, the chief executive, said Glympse hopes to support the free service with location-sensitive advertising at some point.

The company said versions for iPhone, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile and other devices are coming soon. will relaunch within days

RICHMOND | The company that bought bankrupt Circuit City’s brand and e-commerce business is planning to relaunch in the next few days.

According to a posting on the new front page of the Web site, New York-based Systemax says the site will feature lower prices, a wider selection, faster shipping and better customer service.

Systemax purchased Circuit City’s intellectual property assets earlier this month for $14 million and agreed to pay the Richmond-based company at least $3 million from the revenue that the assets generate over 30 months.

Systemax is the same company that purchased electronics retailer CompUSA’s intellectual property when it closed in 2008. It manufactures and sells consumer electronics online, by direct mail and in retail stores.

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