Dashlane: Web Logins and Checkouts at Light Speed

Managing your various accounts, passwords, IDs and other sensitive data is a tricky situation. You want it to be both accessible and secure, two goals that are by nature at odds with each other.

Today we’re going to give you a sneak peek at Dashlane, an app that promises to simplify this process and help you manage and use your information while keeping it safe from prying eyes. It’s a tall order so let’s see if this app can make good on its promise.

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Dashlane is currently in a private beta period, but the good folks behind this awesome software have offered to set up Mac.AppStorm readers with some exclusive invites. Simply follow the link below to try it for yourself!

Click here to try Dashlane free.

Getting Started

After you download Dashlane, there’s a multi-step setup process. It’s fairly quick and it’s all basic stuff: setting up browser extensions, choosing an email and password, etc. However, right off the bat, I spotted one thing that I wasn’t too crazy about:

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No Safari Support

At this point, Dashlane doesn’t support Safari. Hopefully this is just a beta thing and not something indicative of a long-term strategy. Whether you’re a Safari user or not, you have to admit that many Mac users are going to want to use the browser that comes built into their system. Update: Safari support will be live in a matter of days so this is likely a non-issue.

The next thing that caught my interest was the following window, which informs you that there is absolutely no way to recover your password if it is lost:

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No Password Recovery

This seems harsh at first, but upon reflection it makes perfect sense. The app is built to keep your information completely safe so it doesn’t make too much sense to have an easy back door that thieves can exploit to get around the security.

I did some checking and other popular apps in this category like 1Password have the exact same policy, so any objections should be raised against this market in general and not necessarily Dashlane itself.

Managing Your Information

Once you’re done with the setup, you can dive in and start entering your information. The interface uses a very bright, mostly white theme with some subtle gradients added for a little texture. It’s not as customized as 1Password so if you’re not a fan of skeuomorphism then you might dig the simplicity here.

The window layout is exactly what you’d expect with your information being split up into various categories on the left and the selected category’s contents in the center.

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The Dashlane Interface

There are five different categories for your information: Contact, IDs, Payment, Logins and Passwords, and Purchases. Security Dashboard is something else that we’ll look at later.

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The Sidebar

Entering Information

Entering your information using Dashlane is super quick and easy. Under each category, you’ll see a few little round “+” buttons. Just hit the button and a form pops out for you to fill in and save. The workflow here makes setting up lots of information a very quick process.

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Entering Information

For Contacts, IDs and Payment, you can enter information in manually. For everything else, it’s simply collected automatically as you log into sites in your browser. I like that this information is automatically collected, but disabling manual input is an odd touch. I feel like I should have the choice to go either route for things like passwords.

Dashlane automatically helps you speed through purchases and even saves the information about that purchase (total spent, retailer name, etc.) back in the app.

Security Dashboard

The Security Dashboard is a really helpful feature that takes a look at all of the passwords that you’ve saved with Dashlane and gives you a basic analysis of their strength. It shows you a little bar that rates your password on a scale of 1-100% and then provides a simple written interpretation of the score such as “Safe” or “Very Unsafe.”

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Security Dashboard

Once you’ve got some information entered it’s time to go to your browser and either put that information to good use or start collecting more by logging into your favorite sites.

Dashlane in the Browser

Once you have the Dashlane browser extensions installed, the little Dashlane mascot will start showing up in text and password fields.

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Password fields have Dashlane icons

Then when you click on a field, Dashlane pops up options to fill it right in place. This is a really nice implementation of password management that’s much more direct than other options like LastPass or 1Password. Having the options right there at the field makes for a much more seamless experience.

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Login options show up right where you need them

In cases where you’re filling out a long form full of personal information, you simply choose your preset identity and all the forms on the page are then filled out based on that information.

If you don’t have login information for a particular site yet, simply enter it manually and Dashlane will ask if you want to save it.

Syncing

Dashlane is a local Mac app but you have the option to sync your information to the Dashlane servers so that you can quickly access it on other devices.

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Dashlane's Sync Preferences

The developers handled this part with a lot of tact. Syncing is completely optional and even when you choose to sync you can specifically select what does and doesn’t get transferred. Plus to be as safe as possible, your financial information is never synced.

My Thoughts on Dashlane

Overall, Dashlane is a solid product with a lot of potential. Strictly speaking, it’s not a completely unique app as there are plenty of other apps out there that perform similar functions. However, Dashlane has some nice tricks up its sleeve that you don’t find elsewhere.

As a 1Password user myself, I missed the eye candy but appreciated the added functionality. As I mentioned above, the in-place pop up menus are very convenient, but where Dashlane really shines is with purchases. The ability to record purchases is a really nice touch that gives this app the unique buying proposition that it needs.

That being said, there are definitely some places where 1Password outperforms Dashlane as well. For instance, in 1Password I can create multiple identities, which is great if you share a computer with a spouse.

One Last Gripe: The Menu Bar App

My biggest complaint about this app is a little nerdy, but it’s a huge deal to me. Along with the app that sits in your dock, Dashlane comes with a menu bar helper that automatically appears when you open the app. Unfortunately, this has a major flaw:

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No Quit Option?

From what I can tell, you can’t quit the thing. Here I’ve closed and logged out of the app, and yet the menu bar item remains. To shut it down, I actually had to go into Activity Monitor. I like to have full control over what is and isn’t running on my machine so I can’t handle a menu bar app with no option to quit.

Conclusion

Dashlane is one of those apps that solves a practical problem faced by just about everyone who uses a computer. If you don’t have some sort of password manager, I highly recommend that you get one. Dashlane has set itself up to be a major player in this area with a clear advantage in the area of online shopping.

The app is still in beta but in my experience it’s perfectly stable and void of any noticeable bugs. The major area that needs work before a release is Safari support. Like many other Safari users, I’m not willing to switch to Firefox just so I can use this app.

Safari support aside, Dashlane is off to a very strong start and I definitely recommend checking it out once you get the chance. It’s extremely easy to use and integrates flawlessly with your current web workflow.


Summary

A slick and secure information manager that helps you login and fill out web forms quickly. It even syncs across machines and saves your online purchases. Currently in private beta.

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  • Buster P. Keaton

    I am eternally grateful to you for introducing me to the word “skeuomorphism”. I promise I will use it at least once a month.
    Also, I am – to put it mildly – not a fan of 1Password’s utterly childish and hyperskeuomorphic design, so that’s a point for Dashline.

    • http://www.coroflot.com/joshuajohnson Joshua Johnson

      “Hyperskeuomorphic” – you’ve taken it to the next level friend.

    • Vincent

      +1 – I use 1Pass. but I do not like the silly login screen that seems to take additional resources. In this case I think the eye candy is a hindrance instead of value added.

  • http://www.dashlane.com Stephanie Frasco

    Hi,
    I am the Community Manger at Dashlane. Thank you for this great review! Safari support will be added in the next 10 days.

    We are looking forward to Mac.AppStorm readers as a part of our growing community of Beta users.

    Please feel free to reach out to us on Twitter, Facebook or G+.

    • http://www.coroflot.com/joshuajohnson Joshua Johnson

      Thanks Stephanie, I’m stoked to see the Safari integration.

      • http://www.dashlane.com Stephanie

        I will be sure to ping you when it is live.

  • http://www.amperspectives.com Andy

    LastPass Pro all day long. You get these great features and great security. Plus it syncs to all browsers including iOS devices.

    • http://www.coroflot.com/joshuajohnson Joshua Johnson

      I was a faithful LastPass user… until they starting sending out emails and posting blog posts about how they *may* have let all their users’ private information be compromised.

  • http://appcrunch.co.uk Josh

    I use LastPass and 1Password together and keep them both updated as both do some things or handle some sites logins better than the other.

    Previously I used PassPack which is also very good but was unfortunately Adobe Air only and I’ve long since dumped Air and Flash.

    I really like the look of this too though so will be giving the beta a good try, looks promising.

    • http://www.dashlane.com Stephanie Frasco

      We look forward to your feedback. Let us know if you have any questions.

      Stephanie
      Dashlane, Community Manager

  • http://www.jasonclegg.com Jason Clegg

    I’m already a dashlane user and LOVING it. I got in during the private beta launch and became a huge fan right away. All the other password managers I’ve used don’t even come close to doing the same number of things as this puppy. (Can you say stored receipts from all of my purchases?)

    All the other options I’ve tried don’t even come close to having the same level of security as dashlane. Plus… it’s free and doesn’t have any ads.

    • http://www.dashlane.com Stephanie

      Thanks Jason. Our organized receipt storage feature is going to come in handy during tax season.

      Stephanie
      Community Manger, Dashlane

  • inksim

    I used to be a faithful Laspass users, but since the compromise incident, I switched to 1Password. While 1Password is functioning, it’s not as good as Lastpass in terms of speed and features. I will give a shot to Dashlane and see how it compares.

    • http://www.dashlane.com Stephanie

      I’m happy to hear you will give Dashlane a try. We love feedback as it really allows us to create the best product we can. So feel free to ask us questions and let us know your thoughts.

      Stephanie
      Community Manager, Dashlane

  • Jeremy

    Long time 1Password user here. Dashlane is as good as advertised. I’ve been using it a while and love it.

    • http://www.dashlane.com Stephanie

      Thank you Jeremy. 2012 is going to be a year full of exciting updates.

      Stephanie
      Community Manager, Dashlane

  • http://www.justinlawes.com Justin

    I tried to install Dashlane but it says my email is not authorized for account creation.

  • Jo

    From the Dashlane FAQ: “Because your master password is the key to all your data, it is not stored anywhere so that there is no risk that it can be stolen. Therefore it is not possible for Dashlane to generate a new one for you. We are working on a procedure that will allow secure account recovery (for lost master passwords).”

    IMHO this is exactly what you shouldn’t be doing.

    From a marketing perspective: the way it is now (as is with 1PW and others), if a master password can’t be recovered, the app “feels” much saver. From a security perspective: if it can be recovered it might also be compromised.

    So leave this as it is. If people can’t memorize their master password, they shouldn’t be on the internet anyway (or actually use a computer for that matter).

    A personal gripe: syncing my most private information on servers of a company that just popped up? No wucking fay. Don’t get me wrong but you just don’t have any track record that will let the rather suspicious people like me trust your servers.

    I even have a hard time syncing my 1PW library on Dropbox but eventually did so since there is no other other convenient way around it. Encrypted my library with a superstrong master password though.

    Go the Dropbox route instead. It’s an established (and to a certain degree trusted) system.

    • http://www.dashlane.com Alexis Fogel

      Hi,

      Thanks for your message, this is a very interesting point. I agree with you as it is a strong choice we made not to be able to do password recovery. Actually the process we are working on is not a password recovery as we don’t want to do it but an optional local backup system for people who want it (I will change the FAQ to make it more clear). At any rate, this would not change anything to our promise that there is no way we can access users data.

      Something that is important to mention also: Cloud backup and synch are optional with Dashlane: If you prefer to use Dashlane on your computer only, this is also possible.

      Thanks
      Alexis, Co-founder & Product director @ Dashlane

  • Antonio Madonna

    This app seems interesting. I’m a big fan of the OS X Keychain, so I never used any pwd management app, but I’m going to try Dashlane when Safari support will be added.

  • http://www.aeronaves.org Aeronaves

    Thank you for this great review! Safari support will be added in the next 10 days.

  • http://www.69wpm.de Deian I.

    I just wanted to install Dashlane, the problem is, I use Chromium and this browser is not supported. Could you add it to the installer?

    • http://www.dahslane.com Alexis Fogel

      Hi,

      We are working on adding Chromium and it should be available by the end of the beta.

      Thanks

  • http://net.tutsplus.com Jeffrey Way

    Ooh – that saved receipt functionality is super helpful. I might switch over from 1Password based on that alone.

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  • http://www.dashlane.com Stephanie Nicole Frasco

    Just a quick note to let you know that Dashlane now supports Safari. We released a major update today with other features as well.

  • red

    I don’t understand the business model-

    where they charge for something that is free, and then risk customer data from being an irrelevant link in the chain.
    Doesn’t every browser have a password mgr?

    Doesn’t every e-commerce site have a way just to click on your preferred shipping address?

    points my head is spinning about;

    no one at dashline has security experience
    uses skype to inter company communicate which is insecure
    used dropbox, which is definitely insecure to share files between their offices.
    As part of the model they sell the paying customers data to anyone.

    Why is this even popular? How does a VC even resonably expect to get their investment capital back?

    at $60 a yr that is over 16,000 customers just to make $1m with their 12-20 employees plus overhead plus marketing, how would this be a worthy investment.

    Why would a person risk their credit card info, when the CC company will not reimburse?

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