There are several security applications that can help you locate your misplaced phone — if you have the foresight to install them ahead of time. Lookout Labs app, Plan B, can help you recover your phone after it has gone missing.
How’s this possible? Using the over-the-air install capabilities of the recently introduced web-based Android Market, You can install Plan B to the phone you are trying to find. Follow this Android Market link to install.
Using Plan B is straightforward. You simply need access to the Android Market Web site and your Google account credentials. Once you install the software, Plan B will start automatically and send your phone’s location — using GPS and cell towers — to your registered Gmail address.
Your locations will keep updating for 10 minutes, during which time you will receive an email update each time the device is located. You can start the process again by texting “locate” from any other phone to the missing phone.
I wanted to put Plan B through its paces so I went on to the Android Market and remote installed it to my phone.
The application worked as advertised. The app installed without a hitch and immediately started sending emails with the location of my phone to my registered Gmail account. Very nice. If you’re phone is lost, this program would be a great benefit to help recover it. See the example email and mapping data below sent from my phone with Plan B to my Gmail address.
If your phone is stolen, I’m not sure that it would be that helpful. Once the program remote installed it launched to a splash screen announcing its presence on the device. Since my registered Gmail address also is being received by the person with the phone, he or she also can see that the phone is being tracked.
If the person with the phone is an experienced Android user, he or she can simply go into the settings menu to “manage applications” and uninstall the software.
Still, the Plan B option is better than no option. And if you wait to remote install the software at a time when the phone is most likely not being actively used you have a chance to receive enough information to help recover the device before the software is discovered.
If you still have your device, you might consider installing Lookout Mobile Security. If not, it’s nice to know there is a Plan B.