In a blog post on February 7, Opera shared the news that it has started running tests on a new built-in browser VPN for Android. It’s currently only available to beta users, with tests expected to continue ‘for some time’ before public release.
This isn’t the first time Opera has tried its hand at a VPN. The company launched a free standalone VPN app for Android and iOS back in 2016, but it was discontinued at the end of April 2018 when it was acquired by another VPN provider, SurfEasy. The Opera desktop browser also currently has a built-in free VPN service – this is available on Windows and Mac.
Unlike its predecessor, this new VPN will be directly integrated into Opera’s Android browser, meaning you don’t have to download any extra apps in order to use it.
All users will need to do to enable the VPN is tap the “Settings” option and tick the box to activate it. There’s no indication as to whether this will only remain activated for the current browsing session or if it will be automatically applied every time a new session is started, but we expect more details will be released before the official launch.
There’s a couple of different ways you can use the new VPN. You can either let it choose your location for you (the ‘Optimal’ option is the default setting) or you can manually select your virtual location. There is no way of drilling down to specific countries, with Europe, America and Asia the only options.
Another useful feature allows you to customize whether or not the VPN is active on all types of web pages or only specified ones, meaning you can route certain types of traffic outside of the VPN tunnel – particularly useful for country-specific content.
There’s very little information available regarding the level of security offered by this VPN, such as the type of encryption or protocol used. We’ve reached out to Opera for further comment but are yet to receive a response.
Opera hasn’t announced any immediate plans to introduce anything similar to its iOS browser, but we presume this will be dependent on the success of the Android version.