When LogMeIn acquired password management tool LastPass last year, many people were worried about what the deal would mean for users. I use LastPass myself to manage my hundreds of different passwords and I was a little worried that I'd have to look elsewhere for all my password management needs. It seems my concerns might have been a little premature if the latest version of LastPass is anything to go by.
Rather than back-pedaling on product development, it seems that the powers that be at LogMeIn have realized that LastPass is an incredibly useful tool and that where utility exists, revenue streams are sure to eventuate. The new version of LastPass, imaginatively called LastPass 4.0, has an entirely new user interface and a bunch of useful new team features. The new version is available on all browsers and platforms, including the browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer and Opera on Windows, Mac and Linux. In addition, the new versions of Android and iOS LastPass applications share the new interface.
Beyond the user interface, however, there are some interesting new features in LastPass that look very applicable to LogMeIn's other products in services. In particular, a new sharing center enables a distinction between group and individual passwords. While password managers are fantastic at solving the individual password problem, they are less applicable in the event that passwords are shared between multiple individuals. LastPass' new Sharing center is a central vault for sharing encrypted passwords -- whether it is in a business or a domestic setting, synchronizing shared passwords is a smart feature.
On top of shared password vaults, LastPass has introduced an emergency access feature that allows third parties to have access to an individual's password vault in an emergency. Useful, perhaps, for international travel or in the case of accident or illness.
Of course with every new feature, LastPass introduces a potential new vector for attack. Customers surely will be more relaxed about the security implications of LastPass now that it falls under the control of a larger company.
As for those concerns about LastPass' future, I asked Joe Siegrist, founder of LastPass and now VP and GM of LastPass under LogMeIn, for his thoughts. His perspective:
"With the acquisition, LogMeIn's goal wasn't just to acquire a great product, it acquired a great business. Our entire LastPass team has joined LogMeIn and continues to lead the LastPass strategy and development of the product. LogMeIn has and will provide additional resources and expertise from their other engineering centers, as necessary, to accelerate development. With the help of additional resources, we'll be able to accomplish more, much faster -- providing an even better service to millions of people. There are no plans to change the model."
Long may that be the case!
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