In a nutshell: Online privacy is becoming increasingly important with each passing year, and a reliable, no-log VPN service can go a long way in offering some much-needed peace of mind. Data breaches have also become commonplace, resulting in massive amounts of private information ending up on the dark web. With a VPN service and dark web monitoring, Google promises to make it slightly easier for people to preserve their privacy and security online.
On Wednesday, Google announced two new security features as part of its Google One cloud storage service. The first is the expansion of its VPN service, which will now be available to all Google One subscribers at no extra cost. It was previously only available to those on the 2TB plan and higher.
While the 2TB plan costs $99.99 per month, the new policy means that the VPN service will now also be available to those on the basic 100GB plan that’s priced at just $1.99 per month. It will be available on all platforms, including Android, iOS, Windows and Mac.
The rollout started Wednesday and will continue over the next few weeks. When complete, the service will be available in 22 countries, including the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, South Korea, Switzerland, and more.
According to Google, its VPN service offers enhanced protection to all users, irrespective of what apps or browsers they use. It also protects users from potential hackers and cybercriminals by masking their IP addresses. “Without a VPN, the sites and apps you visit could use your IP address to track your activity or determine your location,” said Google.
The other security feature announced as part of the Google One suite is an innovative one, and something that the company claims will help people better protect their data online. Called ‘Dark Web Report,’ the feature promises to scrape the dark web for users’ personal info, like their name, address, email, phone number and Social Security number.
The feature will, however, be turned off by default, meaning users will have to manually enable it. “When you enable dark web report, you provide and select the information you’d like to keep an eye on within your monitoring profile,” explained Google. If the company finds any matching information, it will notify the user and provide guidance on how they might protect that information.
As an example of how this might work, Google said that if it finds a user’s Social Security number on the dark web, it might suggest that they report it to the government as stolen. In addition, the company will also offer users guidance on how to protect their credit.