Android 5.1 might not have a horde of obvious changes above the surface, but there’s no doubt Google put in a lot of work under the hood. Another interesting new change has come to light — the company might be working on bringing a built-in VPN service for use on public WiFi networks.
The change was noticed when a new app — called Google Connectivity Services — was found among the list of other apps installed on the latest stock build of Android 5.1. Using an app like QuickShortCutMaker will allow you to launch the following activity within the app:
Launching said activity brings up a dialog box letting you know that you will be connected to a Google VPN to transmit your data in a secure fashion. Clicking “Got It” takes you to the standard VPN menu, though the phone fails to connect to any VPN at that point.
So is Google working on a free VPN that anyone can access? It’s possible, though there are a couple of other things to consider:
- This could be a feature of the carrier’s upcoming MVNO service that was confirmed at Mobile World Congress. Google’s MVNO will leverage the use of both public WiFi and cellular networks for calling, messaging and data activity. Such a solution certainly could benefit from encrypted data. We expect to hear more about these efforts at Google I/O.
- It’s possible this could eventually be offered for Android for Work users who transmit sensitive data to and from the workplace.
- It could be a free-for-all where anyone and everyone who needs VPN access can easily get it with just a few clicks.
But without any official word from Google, it’s all just a series of guesses. The “learn more” button on the dialog box links to a generic support page so there are no answers to be had there.
We’ll be looking for answers from sources of our own, though, and will update you accordingly if we hear anything. Built-in VPN that anyone can use at any time? That would be a game changer, but let’s try not to get too excited before we know what, exactly, El Googs is planning.