Google VPN evidence shows up in new Android 5.1 release
Do you trust the internet connections providing data to your smartphone? Is your carrier sharing info with the feds? Is that public WiFi AP harvesting your account data? Is your employer watching what sites you visit when on the company network? By far, the best thing you can do to keep all this information private is to tunnel your data to a trusted remote machine: to use a VPN. Then no matter how data gets to and from your phone, it’s all nice and encrypted as it flies through the air, safe from prying eyes. Right now, if you want to take advantage of such a VPN on Android you’ve got to set one up yourself or pay for an account with a provider. But it looks like Google might be working to make things easier by launching a VPN of its own, as evidence in the new Android 5.1 release suggests.
Android 5.1 contains the new Google Connectivity Services, and while you can’t easily access it just yet, it appears to hold the framework for a forthcoming Google VPN offering. Text strings imply that Google intends the VPN to protect users when accessing open WiFi networks, though it’s not clear if usage will be constrained to such situations, or if it will always be available.
There’s also no clue for now on how Google plans to let users access its VPN – if this will be a free Android feature or something delivered as part of some kind of premium service.
And of course, a Google VPN raises new privacy questions. You may trust Google more than you trust the anonymous face behind a public WiFi AP, but do you really want to route all your smartphone data through its servers? For the moment, we’re just curious to learn how Google introduces this service, and get the details on how it will operate.