Google goes after VPN market with a new built-in feature

Google One VPN
(Image credit: Google)

Google has unveiled its own rival to the established best VPN services in a bid to improve the privacy of Google One users. 

The feature — called VPN by Google One — will be available for Google One users  who have signed up for a 2TB or larger storage plan costing at least $10 per month or $100 per year. 

Rather than being a standalone VPN service, the new feature is integrated and accessible within the Google One app. Google says the feature will “provide an extra layer of online protection for your Android phone”.

“We already build advanced security into all our products, and the VPN extends that security to encrypt all of your phone’s online traffic, no matter what app or browser you’re using," wrote Google One director Larissa Fontaine in a blog post

“The VPN is built into the Google One app, so with just one tap, you can rest assured knowing your connection is safe from hackers.” (VPNs don't guarantee ironclad protection from hackers, we have to note here.)

Google says the VPN will let people use an encrypted connection to browse the web, stream movies and download files, protect themselves from local snoopers while using public Wi-Fi networks and conceal their Internet Protocol addresses to stop location tracking.

It's going up against the mainstays of the stand-alone VPN market, like ExpressVPN and NordVPN.

Simple and fast

The U.S. search giant claims that it will be a fast VPN thanks to “best-in-class network architecture”, and that to enable it, users just need to press the “Enable VPN” toggle in settings. 

As part of the launch, Google will add VPN support to its Pro Sessions. 

"With Pro Sessions, you can schedule one-on-one online sessions with a Google expert to learn more about VPNs and how to stay safer online," Fontaine wrote. 

“You’ll get access to the VPN and Pro Sessions in addition to the 2TB of storage and other member benefits you already get with the plan, like 10% back in store credit on all Google Store device purchases.”

VPN by Google One is set to launch in the U.S. over the next few weeks and will be available only for Android devices initially. But Google says the service will “expand to more countries and to iOS, Windows and Mac in the coming months."

Is VPN by Google One worth it?

Getting an unlimited VPN service on top of a 2TB Google One plan is a good deal -- but only if you really need that 2TB of storage space. Otherwise, there are many stand-alone VPN providers that will sell you yearly subscriptions for far less than $100 a year. 

Furthermore, we don't know how well VPN by Google One will let you see Netflix or other streaming services from other countries, which like it or not is one of the chief reasons for using a VPN. And few privacy fanatics will trust a VPN that's run by Google and based in the United States.

What is Google One?

Google One is a subscription-based service that gives users more cloud storage for various Google products and services, plus enhanced tech support. It’s available in a range of countries, including the U.S., U.K., Australia, Canada, France and many more.

The service currently offers users a choice of six subscription plans: 100GB ($20/year), 200GB ($30/year), 2TB ($100/year), 10TB ($50/month), 20TB ($100/month) and 10TB ($150/month). Only the 2TB-and-up plans get VPN by Google One.

Nicholas Fearn is a freelance technology journalist and copywriter from the Welsh valleys. His work has appeared in publications such as the FT, the Independent, the Daily Telegraph, The Next Web, T3, Android Central, Computer Weekly, and many others. He also happens to be a diehard Mariah Carey fan!