New VPN tools could make Google’s Project Fi the best US network for privacy

Google’s fledgling Project Fi mobile network will soon automatically hook subscribers up to a VPN for every online connection they make. 

Initially through a beta, Google’s ‘Enhanced Network’ feature will ensure all cellular connections are protected by the dedicated VPN, which already guards customers’ free access to 2 million Wi-Fi hotspots.

Google says the tests commencing this week will give customers “enhanced security and privacy” whenever they use data or Wi-Fi.

In a blog post on Tuesday, Google said the optional update offers users peace of mind regardless of how they’re connecting to online services.

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Product Manager Dan Chak wrote: “When you’re on the go, you’re likely connecting to new networks, and the security of all networks isn’t made equal. When you enable our enhanced network, all of your mobile and Wi-Fi traffic will be encrypted and securely sent through our virtual private network (VPN) on every network you connect to, so you’ll have the peace of mind of knowing that others can’t see your online activity.

“That includes Google—our VPN is designed so that your traffic isn’t tied to your Google account or phone number (just like mobile traffic that isn’t sent through the VPN).”

Project Fi is an intriguing proposition, although it is yet to emerge as a serious threat to the major players in the US. As well as picking up the best signal from Sprint, T-Mobile and U.S. Cellular, depending on the user’s currently location, it also offers access to data in 170+ countries with no international fees.

Google only charges $20 a month for limited calls and texts, plus $10 a month for each gigabyte of data used (capped at 6GB, after that its free).

Today, the company also announced a new Wi-Fi assist feature that fills in the gaps in service with cellular data. Google adds: “With our enhanced network, you’ll have a seamless connection on the go, and waiting to be reconnected becomes a thing of the past. In our testing, we’ve reduced the time without a working connection by up to 40 percent.”

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