Google is rolling out its virtual private network (VPN) service for subscribers of its Fi network that should help people when they're using online services on public Wi-Fi.
VPNs are handy, so long as you trust the service provider to route your traffic safely through their servers. The key question is whether you, as a device owner, trust the service provider.
A VPN gives you a private tunnel over the open internet and ensures that packets are encrypted, so if they're intercepted by a government agency or hacker, they can't be deciphered.
SEE: VPN: Picking a provider and troubleshooting tips (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
VPNs are not foolproof but they work well enough in many situations, like at the airport when you need to access your online bank account or Gmail. Normally a decent VPN costs money, but Google throws it in with its Fi broadband service to offer a shield against attackers and marketers using a device's IP address to track a location.
Google has delivered performance improvements to its Fi VPN and imoving it out of beta for Android phone users.
"This means you can get the benefits of the VPN while also getting a faster, stronger connection across your apps and services," Google notes.
It's also coming to the iPhone, bringing coverage to all of Google's Fi users. "We plan to roll out the VPN to iPhone starting this spring," Google notes. Google is also bringing its privacy and security hub to Android devices, offering users a shortcut to features available to Android users, such as its VPN.
"Your Fi number is tied to your Google Account and comes with security features that protect your phone number from threats like SIM swaps — that's when bad actors try to take someone's phone number and assign it to another SIM card without their consent," Google said.
"On Fi, you receive extra layers of protection by default, including a robust account recovery process and notifications for suspicious activity. You can also enable 2-step verification for more protection."
- How to install and set up a VPN on iOS, Mac, Windows, and Android
- The fastest VPNs: NordVPN, Hotspot Shield, and ExpressVPN compared
- What is a VPN and how does it work? Your guide to internet privacy and security
- The best free VPNs: Why they don't exist
- Hotspot Shield review: Here's a VPN that actually lives up to its hype
- NordVPN review: Revamping security practices, but still useful
- Reader question, answered: If I have https, do I need a VPN?