If you lose a phone in San Francisco, you were probably at a coffee shop. Misplace it in London? Try the pub. In Brussels, call the dentist’s office. As for New York? A fast food restaurant.
Those are the findings of Lookout Inc., a San Francisco company that makes security software for mobile phones. The company arrived at its conclusions by examining geographic data for some 9 million smartphones it helped locate last year.
Lookout customers who lose their phones can log into a website and see where the phone is and activate a loud screaming noise to keep thieves at bay. Lookout took that information and combined it with data from Foursquare to help it determine the likely locations where the phones were lost.
The top locations in the U.S. are mostly unsurprising: coffee shops, bars, offices and restaurants. People tend to lose their smartphones at night, between 9 p.m. and 2 a.m, and during major events, such as New Year’s parties and sports tournaments.
But overseas, Lookout found the top places to lose a phone to be quite different. In Tokyo, more phones with Lookout software were lost near historic sites than anywhere else. In Seoul, martial arts dojos and baseball fields topped the list. And in Moscow? Automotive shops and military bases.
Lookout says $7 million worth of phones are lost each day by some portion of its 15 million users. That translates into billions of dollars a year in losses for consumers if the phones aren’t recovered. That’s good business for smartphone makers — but possibly bad news for thieves and Good Samaritans alike, who end up walking around with screeching lost phones in their pockets.