Google VPN is now included in all Google One accounts, even the cheapest Basic plan, but is it worth it or would you be better off with an alternative VPN provider? Here are the pros and cons.
Google allows access to many services for free, but some of them are limited and some features are restricted. Pay for a Google One plan and extra services are available and limitations are removed.
One reason you might want to pay for a Google One plan is to get extra storage for documents, email, photos and other files. You get 15 GB of cloud storage for free, but it does not take long to fill that space if you are a keen photographer, if you send and receive emails with large attachments, or have a lot of large documents. Paid plans offer up to 5 TB of storage for those that need it.
One of the extra services you get with a paid plan from Google One is a VPN. At one time Google VPN was only available with the 2 TB and 5 TB storage plans. In fact, the Google One plans page has not yet been updated at the time of writing and still says this. I expect the plans page to be updated sooner or later to show that all plans get it.
Google VPN is now available to everyone, even on the cheapest Basic plan, which costs just UK £1.33 a month when paid yearly. You get 100 GB of cloud storage for your photos, videos and files, plus a VPN to secure the internet for half or even a quarter of the price other VPN providers charge.
Why is it so cheap? What is the catch? Why pay two or three times more for a VPN service?
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Google VPN features
Google VPN is designed to provide security and privacy. Google is a company that tracks everything of course, so you might be skeptical, but the VPN is different and when it is enabled your internet activities are hidden from your internet service provider and from Google too.
From what I have read by digging into the help and QA documents, is that nothing is associated with you, not your IP address, not your DNS queries, not your internet traffic. Everything is encrypted and obfuscated so even Google can’t tell what you are accessing. So far, it looks good.
Google VPN for Windows and macOS
There are almost no features in the Google VPN apps for Windows PC and Apple Mac. Both apps can be downloaded from the Google One website and they are are almost identical in looks and operation.
There is an on/off switch and when you click View settings, an option to automatically start the app when you log in to the computer. This VPN is basic in the extreme and there is no choice of countries, servers, protocols, and other features found in most VPN software. You can turn it on and you can turn it off. That’s it!
- Google VPN is not for people that want to pretend they are located in a different country in order to access services available there, like TV and movie streaming.
- Google VPN just secures the internet connection and prevents your activity from being monitored by your internet provider in public, at home or work.
In some ways it is similar to Cloudflare WARP, which also presents a simple VPN on/off switch. However, Cloudflare WARP has some useful configuration options and settings, whereas Google VPN does not.
Google One on Android and iOS
There is an app for Google VPN on PC and Mac computers, but not on mobile. Instead, it is built into the Google One app for iPhone and Android phone. The apps are almost the same as the desktop apps and there is little difference. However, but the best is the Android app and it has a few extra features the others don’t have.
Install the Google One app on the phone and among the information about your account is a VPN tile. Tap Get Started to use it.
There is a simple on/off switch to enable the VPN and make internet access secure and private. On Android only is a Snooze for 5 min button, which is useful if you need to use an app for a short time that does not work with VPNs. It is easy enough to switch off, but snoozing means it automatically activates without you having to remember to turn it back on.
There are two more features exclusive to the Android app and Block internet if VPN disconnects protects you if the VPN connection quits for some reason while you are in the middle of accessing something online that you would rather keep private. Internet access is blocked until you reconnect the VPN.
The other Android feature is Allow apps to bypass VPN. Nearly all apps work fine with a VPN, but occasionally you come across one that does not. Banking and shopping apps may find it suspicious if you hide behind a VPN for example. You can choose to allow those apps to access the internet directly.
Google VPN is not for everyone. It is specifically for people that only need to make the internet secure and private. It could not be simpler and there is nothing to configure. You just turn it on when you need it and turn it off afterwards.
It is among the cheapest VPNs available and you get cloud storage for your photos, videos and files, plus extra features in Google apps and services too. I am using the 1-month free trial you get when you sign up and I think I will keep it.
It is not useful for people that want to make it look like they are located in another part of the world because there are no countries or servers to choose from. There are also almost no configuration options, like protocols, custom DNS servers, and so on. Don’t use it if these features are essential to you.