Google is shutting down Google One VPN because ‘people simply weren’t using it’

The Google One VPN service is being retired

Lance Whitney/ZDNET

Google One subscribers who use the plan’s VPN service will have to find another way to secure their internet connections. In an email sent to some Google One users this week, the company announced that it will discontinue the plan’s VPN feature. As spotted by Android Authority, the email itself was vague and buried the announcement at the end, but the VPN’s impending doom is assured. Though no specific retirement date was given, expect the VPN to be jettisoned from Google One as soon as sometime in the coming months and certainly before the end of 2024.

When asked why it’s retiring the VPN service, a Google spokesperson told ZDNET: “We’re refocusing our efforts to support more in-demand features with Google One. To keep our subscription service fresh, we’re discontinuing the VPN feature, as we found people simply weren’t using it.”

Introduced in 2018, Google One is a subscription-based plan that bundles a variety of features across tiers ranging from $1.99 per month to $19.99 per month. The basic levels offer cloud storage, dark web monitoring, Google Photos editing tools, and for now, the VPN. The more expensive tiers include 10% back in the Google Store, Google Workspace premium features, Gemini Advanced, and Gemini in Gmail and Docs.

Also: What is Google One, and is it worth it?

Added in October 2020, the VPN was initially only available with certain paid plans and only on Android devices. Over time, Google expanded the feature to cover all paid Google One plans and kicked in support for iOS, Windows, and macOS.

Designed to protect multiple devices, the VPN is especially effective if you’re using unsecured Wi-Fi networks in public places. In a white paper, Google explains exactly how the VPN works and how it secures your internet connections.

All the above reasons are why many Google One users will likely lament the loss of such a useful security tool. Unfortunately, Google has a history of killing products and services that it feels are no longer worth its time and effort. Thankfully, people who need a new VPN have other options.

Google offers a VPN through its Fi wireless subscription, which spans monthly data plans ranging from $35 to $110. The Google Fi VPN supports both Android devices and iPhones.

Recent Pixel owners can also enjoy a free Google VPN. The Pixel 7, Pixel 7 Pro,  Pixel 7a, and Pixel Fold will receive updates in June to give them the same built-in VPN found on Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro phones.

Plus, there are a host of third-party VPN tools available in the Google Play Store. For even more options, check out ZDNET’s story on the best mobile VPNs.

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