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Lost your Android? Google lets you lock it from afar

Google will now permit you to remotely lock your Android, lest that cabbie whose vehicle you left your phone in sees all those duckface pictures you took last night.

But this sort of move from Google could start to spell trouble for a number of mobile security apps, such as Lookout Mobile, aimed at helping you manage your phone data and deal with “loss” situations.

“We’ve long expected that Google would add ‘Lock’ and ‘Find my Phone’ functionality, and we’re surprised it didn’t come sooner!” said a Lookout Mobile spokesperson in an email to VentureBeat.

Google’s new feature is a very useful one for those who don’t have a lock on their phone and want to make sure their data is safe. It can be found in your Android Device Manager, according to Android Police, which will remotely tell your phone to go into lock mode when triggered. If you already have a password, it will ask you to create a new one and will instantly update your phone.

It will also turn your screen off and lock the phone if it’s currently in use. Should you be in airplane mode, the phone will execute these commands once connected to a signal.

If Google continues to release these “baked in” security features for Android, it could leave these apps obsolete as third-party protectors. You can also wipe the phone and make it ring from the Android Device Manager. But companies like Lookout Mobile often offer much more than just GPS capabilities and remote lock. Lookout, for example, scans apps for sketchy activity and can warn you about malicious links.

“Solving the missing device problem has been a core piece of the Lookout mission since 2009, and we’ve lead the pack for more than five years, but we haven’t stopped there,” the spokesperson said. “Device loss is a difficult problem to solve, and not every phone lock or missing device situation is the same, so we have consistently developed new functionality to help people have the best possible chance of protecting and recovering a lost or stolen device.”

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