A few months ago, Google rolled out a great perk to Google One subscribers on the cloud service’s most expensive tier. For $9.99 a month, you get 2TB of storage and free access to Google’s own virtual private network.
VPNs hide your IP address as well as your web traffic. Google’s VPN encrypts all online activity, regardless of what app you’re using to go online. But if the VPN disconnects or you forget to enable it, that protection goes away. Google is looking to prevent that with the help of a simple fix. The Google One VPN might automatically cut off your internet access as soon as the VPN disconnects.
In Google One version 1.92 for Android, there’s language suggesting that Google is looking to add an extra layer of security. 9to5Google found lines of code that indicate a future version of the app might allow users to enable a new setting to “block internet if VPN disconnects.” The feature is listed as a beta for the time being.
That’s the kind of functionality that will automate one’s VPN use, assuming you’re using Google One on Android. It’s a set-it-and-forget-it feature that’s meant to protect users in the event the VPN is disconnected. There’s one obvious side effect here. If there’s something wrong with the Google One app that leads to VPN functionality issues, your internet will not work unless you unlock the internet from the app’s settings.
The report notes that the code indicates the phone will try to automatically connect the VPN service upon restart, although that feature is already functional. The only time when the internet connection might not be protected is between the moment the phone restarts and the moment the VPN reconnects, according to the leaked code.
The new setting will appear when tapping View details on the Online protection with a VPN card. Currently, you can only generate a quick settings toggle from the advanced VPN settings.
The Google One 1.92 update is available via the Play Store, but the block internet option isn’t enabled. It’s unclear when Google will roll out the feature to the public Google One release or if it’ll graduate from beta. 9to5Google points out that Android already features options including Always-on-VPN and Block connections without VPN, but they can’t be enabled when the VPN is set up via an app. And Google’s VPN is configured via the Google One app.
Google One isn’t available on iPhone, but Google offers certain iOS users a way to access its VPN service. They have to switch carriers to Google Fi, which comes with a built-in VPN service.