Google is now giving all Google One plans free VPN access and has unveiled a tool to monitor personal data on the dark web.
Google One is the company’s storage plans that give users several tiers to choose from, depending on their needs. The company offered its VPN by Google One for free to its top-tier plans, but is now providing it to all plans, regardless of tier.
The company made the announcement in a blog post:
VPN by Google One adds more protection to your internet activity no matter what apps or browsers you use, shielding it from hackers or network operators by masking your IP address. Without a VPN, the sites and apps you visit could use your IP address to track your activity or determine your location. Plus, we take several steps to make sure no one can tie your network traffic to your identity.
Starting today, and rolling out over the next few weeks, we’re expanding VPN access to all Google One plans, including the Basic plan that starts at $1.99/mo. The VPN will be available in 22 countries across Android, iOS, Windows and Mac devices. You can also share the VPN with up to five others if they’re on your Google One plan.
The company is also including its dark web report, giving users the ability to see if and when their data is posted on the dark web:
Google One’s dark web report helps you scan the dark web for your personal info — like your name, address, email, phone number and Social Security number — and will notify you if it’s found. When you enable dark web report, you provide and select the information you’d like to keep an eye on within your monitoring profile. And if any matching info is found on the dark web, we’ll notify you and provide guidance on how you might protect that information. For example, if your Social Security number was found on the dark web, we might suggest you report it as stolen to the government or take steps to protect your credit.
As we have pointed out before, there’s still the issue of trusting Google as a VPN provider. The company has a long history of privacy abuses, including ignoring users’ preferences regarding tracking and privacy.
A VPN is only valuable if a user trusts the company providing the service. When the company providing the service primarily makes its money off of user data, it leaves one to wonder just how private their web browsing data will truly be.