Mobile privacy is becoming increasingly more important for Google, Apple and other OEMs. Android 5.0 already ships – in some cases – with encryption on by default. As does iOS 8 from Apple. Both firms have promised consumers to do anything possible to keep our mobile data private, and it looks like Google is about to step up the game even more with its recent Android 5.1 Lollipop release.
Data uncovered by Pocketables recently shows what appears to be a new built-in virtual private network (VPN), simply called “Google VPN.” A VPN, if you’re unfamiliar, is a way to create a private network inside of a network that’s otherwise completely open to the public, and therefore more susceptible to prying eyes.
It appears that the function will automatically pop up as an option whenever you’re surfing on unprotected Wi-Fi networks, which is great if you find yourself often tapping into open Wi-Fi in coffee shops on the go. “Google Wi-Fi Assistant wants to set up a VPN connection that allows it to monitor network traffic, only accept if you trust the source,” one screenshot says, noting that a key icon will appear at the top of the screen to alert you when you’re surfing in a Google VPN.
Google VPN appears to be a function of a new Android 5.1 Lollipop feature called “Google Connectivity Services.” Pocketables said the app is pretty much off limits right now, though it’s possible to launch it if you’re willing to do a bit of legwork. Google VPN also doesn’t activate just yet, though it appears that this is something that’s coming down the line sooner than later.