Lookout has announced a new feature to their premium service, called Safe Browsing. What it does is spread protection from malware beyond installed applications, and into your browser. If you've ever used the Chrome browser, and spent any time on the Internet, you've surely seen sites blocked because of malware or phishing -- that's what the new Safe Browsing feature does. I spent some time talking with Lookout's Marketing Director Alicia diVittorio, and Senior Software Engineer Anbu Anbalagapandian and got a little explanation of what to expect, and then spent a little time going through the paces and testing it out.
First the technical details. Safe Browsing sits idle in the background, listening for the "intent" (think of that as a command) to open a web URL through the browser. It checks that URL, and if it comes back clean, it goes back to sleep. If not, you get a message pop-up with a warning. This means it works with website addresses from any source, including Twitter and Facebook. Since the necessary evil of URL shorteners is now pretty commonplace, this is a pretty nice way to be sure you're going where you think your going. In the usage department, it's simple. Open Lookout, go into the settings, and turn it on. If you stumble across a website that's acting a little suspicious, it tells you. If not, it sits quietly out of the way. Anbu told me they tested the battery life and performance impact, and found no issues at all. While one day is hardly a perfect use case, I didn't notice any more wear and tear on the battery than normal, and saw no change in the way my phone performed, so my short test agrees.
In addition to the new Safe Browsing feature, Lookout also announced that they are partnering with Sprint, making Lookout available directly from the Sprint Zone, and the Sprint tab in your phone's Android Market page. This should make it much easier to find for those new to Android, and especially those new to smartphones and the most susceptible to the dirty tricks out there in the wilds of the web.
Safe Browsing is a premium feature. We've went over the other premium features pretty well when they were released. You need to look at what's offered, then decide if you need to go premium. If you do need the pay services, it will cost you $2.99 per month, or $29.99 a year. To celebrate the launch of Safe Browsing, Lookout is offering $5.00 off the price of the subscription for the next seven days. Just use the code BESAFEAC when you purchase your subscription via the app and you'll save enough money for lunch. You'll also wanna jump past the break and read the press release, watch a short video of Safe Browsing in action, and find the download link.