Google fully launches VPN for Pixel users

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(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

A few days away from giving the farewell of Google One VPN—the service is set to be disconnected on June 20, 2024, for good—the big tech giant has officially rolled out its new rebranded VPN for more Pixel users.

We already reported the beta launch of Pixel VPN by Google at the beginning of June. Now, its latest version has officially been released as a Play Store update. Originally an exclusive feature for Pixel 8 models, the built-in VPN has been extended to Pixel 7 series, 7a, and Fold owners as well.

All this means that ex-Google One users don't have to decide which of the best VPN services to switch to if they own one of these Pixel models. VPN by Google is currently available in 22 countries, including Australia, Canada, some EU countries (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and more), Japan, the UK, and the US. You can find the full list on Google's support site.

"This version of VPN by Google One is optimized for the best performance on Pixel and provides a fully integrated experience in your phone's settings," Google said, according to 9to5Google.

Pixel VPN no longer shows a persistent "1" notification, for example, but just a key icon in the status bar. A blue shield with "G" in the center is also part of the new Google One VPN's rebrand

Most notably, as confirmed by 9to5Google on June 13, you don't need to update to the Android 14 QPR3 version to download the VPN software, unlike previously reported. So, if you're on Android 14 QPR2 still, no need to worry. The provider recommends installing the Pixel VPN app directly from its Google Play listing.

Why use an Android VPN?

Whether you're a Pixel loyalist—looking forward to the new built-in VPN functionality—or using a different Android smartphone, you might wonder why you should use a VPN on your mobile. The truth is that digital threats aren't limited to your laptop and PC.

Nowadays, we are more likely to browse the web directly from our smartphones rather than other devices. This attitude makes it crucial to have an active security tool to boost our online privacy and overall device security at all times.

virtual private network (VPN), is a security tool that encrypts internet connections and spoofs IP addresses. These functionalities enable you to both bypass online geo-restrictions—whether this is a censored site or a foreign streaming library—and boost your privacy along the way.

That's especially important when connecting to notoriously unsecured public Wi-Fi hotspots, for example, as cybercriminals can easily exploit these networks to launch attacks. A travel VPN is also vital when visiting countries infamous for restricting access to certain apps or websites—popular social media platforms are often a target. 

Some of the best Android VPN services on the market even boast extra features to prevent ads and other web trackers from tracking your activity across the web.

In case you're on the hunt for a valid alternative to Google One VPN or Pixel VPN, I recommend looking into NordVPN. It's currently at the top of our VPN rankings, thanks to its easy-to-use apps, some of the fastest speeds I've seen, a great unblocking track record, and tons of security features. Proton VPN is also a very good option, especially because it includes a free VPN plan for those looking to save some money.

Chiara Castro
Senior Staff Writer

Chiara is a multimedia journalist committed to covering stories to help promote the rights and denounce the abuses of the digital side of life—wherever cybersecurity, markets and politics tangle up. She mainly writes news, interviews and analysis on data privacy, online censorship, digital rights, cybercrime, and security software, with a special focus on VPNs, for TechRadar Pro, TechRadar and Tom’s Guide. Got a story, tip-off or something tech-interesting to say? Reach out to chiara.castro@futurenet.com