VPN by Google One: A VPN for Android, by Google
- Google today announced “VPN by Google One”, a new virtual private network service.
- The service currently only works on Android and is a free aspect of Google One plans with 2TB plans or higher.
- Do people actually want a VPN from a data company like Google?
In a blog post today, Google ditched its newest perk for certain Google One subscribers: a VPN. Subscribers who have a Google One plan with 2 TB of storage data (or more) will have access to this new benefit on their Android phones “in the coming weeks”.
The new VPN will eventually roll out on other platforms – including iOS and Windows – as well as in other countries. It is currently only active in the US.
Using the VPN on your Android phone is easy. All you have to do is launch the Google One app, toggle the VPN, and you’re good to go: all internet data on your phone is encrypted. It doesn’t matter which apps or browser you are using as the service affects the entire system.
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This seems like a huge perk to a service that you are already paying for. However, one has to ask how customers will actually react to this. Google is a data-driven company that generates most of its revenue from monitoring internet data. There seems to be a conflict of interest in offering a VPN – especially one that is “free”.
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To its credit, Google explicitly states what the service does on the sign-in page, and this seems legitimate. Google says it “will never use the VPN connection to track, log, or sell your browsing activity” outside of the “minimum logging” used to “ensure quality of service”. It also adds that “Your network traffic is never logged and your IP is not associated with your activity”. So that seems pretty much on the level.
Google is also making the Google One Libraries VPN open source and will have its end-to-end services independently audited in 2021.
This all sounds fantastic, but it still seems strange that a VPN made by Google exists. Fortunately, Google One subscribers don’t have to use the service. So if you’re feeling weird, just stick with a third-party service. If you’re okay with this, you’ve just got a free VPN for your phone and soon your other devices too. That’s not bad.