I still remember the day like it was yesterday. I was at an airport lounge gleefully waiting for my flight when the news hit my inbox: Opera VPN was going to stop being operational in just under 2 weeks. For what I’d already hailed as one of the best alternatives for anyone who fancied having some form of control over what they share on the information superhighway, the news was hard to take.
Since then, a lot has happened. A virtual private network app championed by one of the world’s largest pornography distributors has since taken over the Google Play Store. Left orphaned by the departure of Opera VPN and having to deal with the inadequacies of my favoured Tunnel Bear, I have also since taken refuge in TorGuard, an interesting cross-platform VPN app that has won me over and which I hope to talk about in-depth here one day.
For everyone else who’s still looking for a suitable VPN app to use on their droids, that search may soon come to an end since, it appears, the gods are working in your favour.
Taking a cue from its desktop browser, which I always recommend because of its built-in VPN feature, Opera has begun testing an in-browser VPN solution on its own Opera for Android browser app.
“This exciting new feature in Opera for Android is designed to empower you with increased control and privacy of your browsing. You no longer need to download separate, paid-for apps to shield your browsing when on public Wi-Fi,” Opera notes in the blog post making the announcement.
Of course, there’s the bit where none of these companies loves us that much to offer free goodies at every turn and that statement is as much of a public relations exercise as they come but hey, it’s not a good idea to look a gift horse in the mouth. More so at this time when online privacy is such a big deal.
If you want to give the feature a spin just download the Opera for Android app (see link below) then sign up for its beta program. Who knows? This may be the last time you have to bother having another app installed on your Android device for similar purposes.
Minus the irony of having such a product as the adware-laden Opera News and a mobile lending app that throws any hints of privacy through the front door and advocating for best non-intrusive practices, this is not the first time Opera is making such a move.
Last November, Opera rolled out a cookie dialogue blocker to help users get over the influx of notifications in the wake of the coming into effect of Europe’s sweeping General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) as well as the usual annoying web developers.
Given that how VPN apps work involves them being able to see all the data and information you send and receive, the next question becomes: can you trust Opera? Definitely, we don’t expect Opera to say they can’t be trusted. In fact, their statement reads: “…our VPN is a no-log service, which means that we will not collect any information that travels through the network servers. This will keep your private data protected from intruders when you’re connected to a public Wi-Fi network.”