App Review – PlaceMask (Protecting Your Location)

January 29, 2012
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On Android Authority, I have written a few reviews on applications that keep your Android phone nice and safe. But, those were mostly anti-virus scanners, with the average function of data backup.

Not until recently I started to view applications in the android Market that were primarily focused on blocking your real location, and transmitting it towards somewhere else in the world. PlaceMask will do just that.

Background Information

With the current advancement in location technology, developers have found ways to sneak into your phone to see where you have been traveling to. Pretty scary, huh?

Many games nowadays require location access, for whatever reason. Even the occasional flashlight app! Why do you think they would need my location?

PlaceMask is pretty straight forward. It essentially blocks your location, and runs a program to act like the location service is running on your device, but somewhere else in the world.

Besides security, it is a nice tool to brag to your friends where you are (are not) on Google+.

Location Choice: England One Day, Japan the Next…

The choice availably on this app is superb. I love how I can pretty much be anywhere in the world in a matter of simply swiping the screen in all directions to get to the place I want.

Even though this app may seem like the king of the crop, there are a few flaws I would like to point out. Placemask requires you to turn off GPS settings in order to work properly. However, when doing this, the app will not be able to find your exact location giving you some random place in the Atlantic Ocean.

But, the function still works and acts like you are in another place. As far as I have seen with Android 4.0 ICS, location “choice” has been a breeze with no problems.

Privacy Levels

The one thing that PlaceMask has that I haven’t really seen from competitors is the privacy level tiers. The three options are minimum, medium, and maximum privacy. The MMM system seems to be a great idea, for doing whatever tasks.

The first level, “minimum privacy”, allows the user to block the location completely preventing leakage. The medium level allows the user to do the same, but add a replacement location, as I was talking about before. This seems to be the best one because it is simple and not too complex.

And then finally the maximum level provides blocking, a replacement location, and also enables a feature so when you are on the go, or even stationary the replacement location will move around… becoming more human like.

The great thing about PlaceMask is safety. All around security, which even includes the incoming and outcoming of emergency location. When calling the police or other support, emergency services will still be able to obtain your real location. I really do not think this should be blocked, probably because these are the men and women that help you.

And corresponding to this, only the application content is blocked, which should not interfere with major security tracking and network-based location.

Round-Up

This has to be one of the most creative applications I have reviewed in 2012 so far. I think that the simple accessibility of the app makes it worth buying. Users can really apply the application to everyday security.

The impact of the battery isn’t to bad, but you have to remember that the app does act like a GPS, so it is transmitting. However, with a battery saver application or even an extended battery, you will not find a problem in it sucking life out of your Android phone.

There is no word on when the app will come to iOS, but PlaceMask is available in the Android Market for a fantastic $2.99. There is also a trial version, which has recently been updated for a length period of 5 days (120 hrs).

What do you think about PlaceMask? If you have used it, what do you think about the security? Are there any flaws you have noticed? I would love to hear your comments.

 

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