Android Lollipop users in need of secure WiFi may no longer need to scour the net for a VPN as a new alleged “Google VPN” has been spotted installed on a number of Nexus 6 Lollipop devices.
The new alleged ‘Google VPN’ news is not confirmed, but comes from John Freml at pocketables, discovering that after a small update on his Google Nexus 6 handset, Freml discovered a hidden app called “Google Connectivity Service,” which when launched does nothing thus far, but is assumed to give access to a free secure VPN connection.
According to Freml, when opening the app not much happened, but found he was able to run the service as com.google.android.apps.gcs/com.google.android.apps.gcs.WifiAssistantOptInActivity. He then made an app shortcut to his homescreen through another application installed on the device.
After doing so and executing the application he was met with a pop-up that read: “To help protect you on open Wi-Fi networks, your data will be transmitted securely through a Google VPN.”
Clicking the “Learn More” button redirects you to a standard Google support page https://support.google.com/mobile/?p=google_settings_VPN, but the page at this specific time redirects to the main help page, meaning no article regarding the Google VPN exists to the public thus far.
Clicking “Got It” directs you away from the homepage to the standard VPN connection request settings. The device opens a connection request asking if you would like to connect, stating that using the VPN “allows it to monitor network traffic,” which from there you cannot connect. Unfortunately, Freml found himself unable to successfully connect to the VPN on WiFi, Secure WiFi, or LTE networks.
It is unclear if Google plans to roll this out across Android or if it’s currently in beta testing and could be scrapped later, similar to a number of the company’s mobile projects.
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) allows you to connect to an insecure WiFi network securely, the service will encrypt each packet making data transmission safe, meaning anyone on the network will be unable to see what your doing.
The VPN will use a strong set of encryption ciphers that can prevent a man-in-the-middle (MiTM) attack as captured data would be encrypted and rendered useless. VPN’s offer a number of great capabilities, such as location spoofing, enhanced privacy and security.
If your using a Nexus 6 device, to access the app, navigate to Settings > Apps > All, scroll down a little and you will find the Google VPN application.
Google’s possible plan to release a free VPN service pre-installed on mobile phones could be huge, allowing for mobile handsets to securely access unsecured networks while on the go without having to configure a VPN on the device itself, which some providers don’t offer.
A huge setback to the VPN would be privacy concerns, as the search giant who has been collecting all data transmitted through its service since 1995 would be the sole owners of the network and hardware.
As Google Nexus 6 from Motorola was the first to get Android Lollipop 5.1, Google may exclusively be rolling out this Google VPN feature on their Nexus 6 handsets.