May 23, 2013
If I could take Doc Brown’s DeLorean back in time for a joyride, nothing (besides maybe my skinny jeans) would get more attention than my smartphone. The answer to almost any question, literally any question, is just a few keystrokes away thanks to these sleek, pocket-sized devices. We can’t lose sight of how unbelievable that is. And this ability to know on the go, to have information on-demand, has completely revolutionized the ways we learn. At its core, mLearning empowers us to act on our curiosity and seek answers on our own terms. It gives us the freedom to learn what we want, when we want, how we want. That’s even cooler than a time machine. Alright, that’s almost cooler than a time machine.
May 21, 2013
One of our core values is that “We’ve got your back.” This fundamental principle permeates every aspect of our culture, guides every decision we make, and is baked into every product we release. We think of privacy as a product in itself, and the decisions we make around privacy involve the same level collaboration as any of our other product decisions. Every step of the way we asked ourselves, “How can we do even better for our users?”
You’ll see that we’ve increased the protection of your data and clarified how we may use your data so that you can make good, informed choices. Our constant commitment to you is that we will always work to improve and innovate around privacy practices at Lookout.
These new policies go into effect immediately for all new users. For existing users, they will become effective on May 29, 2013. This short delay is intended to give you an opportunity to read, understand and ask questions about these changes specifically, and our policies more generally.
Below is a summary of the revisions, which you should think of as the “tl;dr” version. Of course, we’ve always taken a lot of pride in having clear and readable policies so I hope you will visit them directly, give them a read, and let us know what you think.
- We included information around two new features and the data collected:
- Signal Flare, which automatically flags the location of your device when your battery is
running low and saves the location in the desktop web app. To help you find your phone, the Lookout app collects location information from your device and sends it back to Lookout’s servers.
- Lock Cam, which takes a picture of anyone that enters an incorrect password three times on your Android lock screen. When you use this feature, we need to collect photographic and location information and how frequently an incorrect password is entered.
- We made clear that it is our policy to notify you before disclosing any Lookout account information as long as it’s legal and possible.
- We included a section on sharing data with partners or third parties in order to prevent you from receiving duplicate or unnecessary marketing messages.
- We clarified our policies around data retention, in that you are always able to delete your
location data through your account settings, however we retain all other data that you
provide, in order to continue to provide our services.
- We added that if you apply for a job through our careers page, for example, the information
submitted with an employment application is a type of PII that we collect.
- We included information around a new feature that lets you interact with Lookout via Facebook and Twitter pages. When you interact with us through those features or other third- party sites, the privacy policies of those third parties, not Lookout, will apply.
- We made clear that we will notify you when our Terms change (just like we’re doing right now).
- We made clearer that we have the right to take action against someone we find violating our Terms. Even though we may not do it every time, we still expect everyone to honor our Terms.
- We clarified that our products and services are provided for you to protect your personal devices and data, and that you cannot use them for any other purpose without asking us first.
- We clarified that if you tell us how we can make Lookout a better experience for you (which
is always greatly appreciated), we may use your ideas freely to improve our products and
- We deleted the clause requiring arbitration if you have a complaint, so you get to choose how you want to go about settling our disagreements. That said, we still hope you’ll come to us first with any problems so we can try to hug it out.
May 15, 2013
At Lookout, we’re proud to be making the world more secure, one device at a time. Now, thanks to you, more than 40 million people around the world trust Lookout to protect their mobile devices. And it doesn’t end there. We’ve joined forces with top mobile operators, like Sprint, T-Mobile, Orange and Deutsche Telekom, to help extend our security to people around the world. We’ve grown as a company, too – now covering multiple platforms, geographies and businesses.
Today, we’re excited to roll out an updated look for Lookout. Our new look is designed to support our expanding business and push the bounds of responsive design (i.e., design that’s optimized for your mobile devices). As with everything we do, our new look (from the brand to website) reflects simplicity, a streamlined experience across devices and an appreciation for great design.
But our new look is about more than just awesome design. Mobile devices are just the beginning of the post-PC era of computing, and we’re committed to building the products that secure our connected world today and tomorrow. We’re building on the foundation we have in mobile security to bring our protection to new markets, including businesses and infrastructure providers who need to secure their devices, data and networks.
We believe that change is a constant, but even as the scale of our impact grows, our commitment to you remains the same. You can count on us to continue delivering the products you love today. We’ve got your back!
For a little context, take a look at the evolution of our logo – a visual peek at where we’ve been, and where we are today.
Thank you for giving us the privilege of protecting you!
May 13, 2013
Phone theft is a problem on the rise. The FCC reports that upwards of 40 percent of theft in major US cities involves cell phones. A recent Lookout survey (January 2013) found that nearly one in ten people in the US have had a phone stolen. The San Francisco District Attorney and New York Attorney General are two parties that have called on us to help advise on how to solve the problem. Our team of engineers and researchers are taking a close look at what can be done.
The phone theft trend is putting both people and their most sensitive data at risk. Since the beginning of the company, we have developed software that helps people locate their lost or stolen devices, giving them the best chance at getting them back. Last year, users initiated over 9 million locates on their phones using Lookout. There is no silver bullet to solve the stolen phone problem, but we believe there are many ways to address it by involving both the industry and people with smartphones.
May 10, 2013
Over the past year we’ve seen a marked increase in “adware,” software that contains ad networks that compromise a user’s privacy or interfere with his experience. While the majority of mobile ads are legitimate, there are a few bad ad networks that put users at risk. Ad networks and advertisers are both the gatekeepers for vast amounts of personal data and an important part of the overall mobile ecosystem; it’s important that they get user privacy right.
Currently, there is inconsistency in the way adware is classified by the mobile industry. This lack of clarity gets in the way of tackling the problem.
Today, we are announcing rules and standards for acceptable advertising practices that promote good user experience and privacy best practices. We will give the industry – ad networks, advertisers, app developers – a set amount of time to change their practices; if the advertising does not abide by these rules it will be classified as adware.
May 9, 2013
“When I’m working on a problem, I never think about beauty. I think only how to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong.” — Bukminster Fuller
Simple, accessible design is at the core of all Lookout products and features. I sat down with Lookout’s Head of Product Design, Bruno Bergher, to discuss what design means at Lookout and how producing good design is like finding black holes in space.
Cherie: What’s the most important thing you consider when designing a product?
Bruno: Does it solve a problem? Is it easy to use? Product design isn’t just taking a product and beautifying it. We don’t take a product and put makeup on it. We shape the idea and define how its features work from the ground up. Every product at Lookout is heavily founded in the work of our designers.
Here’s another important question: how does your design play into the lives of users? Does it delight? Does it earn trust? Is it seamless with the rest of their mobile experience? I guess that’s more than one important consideration. The truth is, there isn’t only one. Thoughtful design engenders the tactile, visual and multi-faceted way we live. If you aren’t considering all of these possibilities, you haven’t scratched the surface of what’s important.
Cherie: How do you decide the most important problem to tackle?
Bruno: We always start with the user. As Google’s popular motto goes: focus on the user and all else will follow.
Our first step is to spend time qualitatively researching the problems users are facing before we go to the drawing board. We write down user scenarios – relatively short sentences phrased in the first person – that explain a users problem and reflect how the user feels because of that problem. By listing out these scenarios we can start prioritizing them and evaluating which problem to solve first. We typically ask ourselves, how can we solve this problem in an easy way that benefits the majority of our users? As a company, we have to balance a lot of priorities, but we never produce a product that doesn’t make sense for our users.
Consider when scientists discover a black hole. They don’t actually see a black hole, they see different things orbiting around it, so the evidence is there. The same can be said about design – you can’t be 100% sure your solution is correct, but you have enough similarities to cross a certain confidence threshold and move forward with the solution.
Cherie: What do you love most and least about product design?
Bruno: I love everything about product design! It is incredible that I get to come into work every day and produce a product that protects millions of people around the world. What’s better than that? One challenge is getting to the place where people understand that your job is more than making a product look pretty. A designer is every bit the builder that a programmer is — and it shouldn’t go unnoticed.
Cherie: What were you trying to achieve in the latest design of the Lookout app?
Bruno: Simplify everything. Part of that is helping our users engage with the app and understand it. Security is complex, but we don’t want it to seem that way to the user. How do you boil down the mobile security universe and demonstrate value, simply? That’s what we are solving.
Cherie: Bruno, you talk a lot about the importance of designing a simple product. How do you define a simple product?
Bruno: Simple is relevant. Relevant to your personal experience, to where you are in the world, to how you want to use something. Simple is when you pick something up and it presents you with the options you want and need. You know something is simple when you see it. Simple means hiding what is needed until it is needed. I’d recommend reading up on progressive disclosure —simple doesn’t always mean simplistic, you can present more options as the user journey’s deeper through an interaction flow.
Cherie: On average, how long does it take to design a product at Lookout?
Bruno: There’s no way to really answer that. We’ve launched apps like Lookout Zapper in one week. Other products, like Lookout Mobile Security app and the redesign of the Lookout web experience took much longer. Designing a product is a continuous process. Even when you’ve shipped a product, as a design team you’re always considering ways to make that product better and iterate on it. There’s no designing it and then building it – it’s all an iterative cycle.
Cherie: How is design at Lookout different from design at other companies?
Bruno: Design here at Lookout is highly collaborative within the design team, but also between the design team and our other functions, like product management, marketing and engineering. We’ve strategically made designers core members of product teams so they’re deeply embedded in the development process. Many companies work in a way where design is a service that is only included at the end of the process. Our team works with engineers on a daily basis to move products forward.
Cherie: What’s the most interesting thing about product design at Lookout?
Bruno: We tackle so many things at once and continuously have multiple products moving forward. It really is impressive! While we have one main product, the way it manifests itself in each platform is different. It takes a lot of hard work and good project management skills to tackle the amount of work we do here at Lookout.
Cherie: What have you designed at Lookout that you’re most proud of?
Bruno: I’m very proud of the new Lookout web experience we recently launched. The quality of improvement from the last version is exponential. The product is very open and straightforward about primary tasks that a user may want to accomplish. It has its problems and we have a long way to go to perfect it, but that’s what product design is all about – constantly iterating to make the product the best it can be.
I’m also very proud of Zapper, but in a very different way. It only took us one week to develop the initial idea and ship the final product. I’m proud of how much we collaborated cross functionally and how well we were able to work together to ship a high quality product so quickly.
Cherie: What about your team makes you really proud?
Bruno: Everything! I have a really awesome team. Each team member has skills that complement one another and we collaborate so well together. We work in a way where weaknesses are complemented by others’ strengths and everyone is very humble and open to feedback, which sometimes can be tricky among designers. They are all true product designers who think in terms of product and don’t think in a vacuum. We’re very well integrated in the company, while still keeping our own identity.
Cherie: How do you hire for good designers?
Bruno: It’s a hard, but rewarding task! One of the main things I’ve learned to look for is empathy – the ability for candidates to put themselves in someone elses’ shoes. If you’re just designing from your own perspective you have a very narrow view that makes it difficult to design a quality product experience for users.
I also look at their portfolios to guage whether they have potential. They may have not necessarily produced the type of work you expect to see, but if you see potential, that goes a long way.
While interviewing, we also work very hard to understand how candidates think. How structured is their thinking? How far back to they step to understand the bigger picture and formulate an answer to your question? I’ve actually started implementing some tactics that are often used in an engineering interview. Similar to how engineering candidates are given code tests, I like to incorporate a design test in my interviews.
Cherie: What advice would you give for someone who wants to get started in the industry?
Bruno: The best way to get started is to find a problem and try to solve it. If you have really clear motivation you’re going to find ways to create solutions instead of just trying to learn in a vacuum.
May 6, 2013
We have been investigating a new piece of Android malware that was being sent out to German Android users as part of a phishing campaign targeting customers of Postbank.
ZertSecurity is a banking trojan which masquerades as a certificate security application that asks the user to input their bank account number and PIN.
ZertSecurity was found in the Google Play store, although less than 100 copies had been downloaded in the 30 or so days that it was live. It has since been removed by Google.
All Lookout users are protected against this threat.
May 2, 2013
Do you enjoy delicious food, unlimited cocktails, networking and free giveaways? If so, read on.
It’s that time of year for Lookout’s annual Google I/O kickoff party, and we’re happy to announce that we’ll be giving away free tickets to 20 lucky people, selected randomly. Each randomly chosen winner can bring 1 guest.
Last year’s event was all the rage, and this year’s party is shaping up to be the best one yet. If you’re going to be in San Francisco for the developer’s conference of the year, here’s how you can enter:
Leave one comment on our blog by May 10 at 10:00 a.m. PST telling us in your own words one of the following:
- How excited you are to party with Lookout
- Why you love Lookout
- How Lookout helped keep your phone safe
It’s that easy and there’s no need to have a pass to Google I/O – we don’t discriminate! Please be sure to include your preferred email address in the comment section. On May 10 by 5 p.m. PST we will select 20 random winners, and email them directly with a link to the RSVP page within three days.
- When: Tuesday, May 14 at 7:30 pm (arrive early – last year there was a line around the block)
- Where: Terra Gallery, 511 Harrison Street, San Francisco, CA
- This event is 21 and over
*Please note this is not in association with Google I/O, and travel and accommodation are NOT included. For official sweepstakes rules vist: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Njc3vbYTO7Vz3511krOYYuHr3jTwiVkdkSwO3E05dm0/edit