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Opera’s Android VPN returns as a built-in browser feature

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The standalone VPN app was discontinued last April

Image: Opera

Opera is building a free VPN directly into its Android browser, the company has announced. Using the feature will make it harder for websites or ISPs to track your internet usage, and Opera says that it will not log information that travels through the service. The feature is currently being rolled out in the beta version of the app, with testing scheduled to continue “for some time.”

This isn’t the first time Opera has brought a VPN to Android, although last time the service was offered as a standalone app, which was also available on iOS. Unfortunately, this app was discontinued on both mobile platforms in April last year. The difference now is that you’ll actually need to use Opera’s browser to have access to the VPN, which will presumably encourage adoption of the browser in a way the standalone app did not.

As well as allowing you to manually set a location, the VPN can also be enabled only for private browsing, or set to exclude search results.
Image: Opera

The beta app gives you a couple of different options for how you use the VPN. As well as being able to manually choose which continent you want your virtual location to be in (an automatic ‘Optimal’ option is the default), you can also specify when exactly you want the VPN to apply. You can set the VPN to be used only for web pages opened in private tabs, and you can also choose to disable it when your access search engines, if you want them to be able to gather the kind of location and tracking information that can lead to more relevant results.

The new feature is rolling out gradually to users of the beta version of the Android app, but we found we had access to it immediately when we downloaded it for ourselves in the UK. Opera warns that your internet speed may be affected by routing your traffic through the service. The company did not announce any plans to bring the feature to the company’s iOS browser.