Android 5.1 has Google VPN baked in to protect you on open networks

Screenshot: Pocketables

Screenshot: Pocketables

While it may seem unlikely, it is possible for someone to intercept and steal your data when you browse the web on an open Wi-Fi network. But Google VPN, a feature’s that baked (but not yet enabled) into Android 5.1 is designed to prevent that from happening.

The new feature was discovered in Google’s latest Lollipop firmware by Pocketables. To access it, you must first find the Google Connectivity Services app under the “All Apps” section in the Settings menu, then use QuickShortcutMaker to launch an activity.

“Using QuickShortcutMaker, I placed a shortcut to Google Connectivity Services on my homescreen and launched the app from there,” explains John Freml.

Freml then got a popup that read, “To help protect you on open Wi-Fi networks, your data will be transmitted securely through a Google VPN.” However, because the feature isn’t active yet, no VPN connection was actually made.

Right now, it’s totally clear how Google VPN will work, or whether it will be available at all. While it is already present in Android 5.1, the fact that it’s not activated means there’s no guarantee it will become a feature.

Google VPN could be a part of Google’s upcoming MVNO, and available only to those who use the service. The search giant still hasn’t confirmed when this will launch, but recent reports revealed it could be exclusive to the Nexus 6 initially.