While the Google Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro were being officially unveiled at this week's Made by Google event, the Big G revealed their new best Android phones were going to come with, in my opinion at least, a great freebie. And one that I feel Google probably should have shouted about more.
That freebie? That Google Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro owners will get access to its Google One VPN at "no extra cost". Google proceeded to say that this makes the Pixel 7 range the first in the world to include VPN access.
After announcing the cool freebie during the Made by Google event, the firm then confirmed it on its official Twitter account (opens in new tab), stating that:
"Later this year, #Pixel7 and 7 Pro will be the only phones with a VPN by Google One—at no extra cost."
Peace of mind when you connect online ✨Later this year, #Pixel7 and 7 Pro will be the only phones with a VPN by Google One—at no extra cost.¹#MadeByGoogle¹See image for more info pic.twitter.com/P7lzyoMdekOctober 6, 2022
A VPN, for those who are not up on the terminology or technology involved, stands for 'virtual private network' and is a tool that is used to ensure a user's privacy when operating online. The VPN encrypts all traffic from the user, such as when browsing the internet, meaning that third parties like, say, the user's internet service provider can't snoop on them.
The thing is, though, the best VPN services cost money, with yearly subscriptions required. So the fact that the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro are going to come with a VPN for free is a big deal.
The T3 take: Google shows us it's serious about privacy
If I'm going to be candid, I've felt pretty nauseated by how all the big tech and social media giants have, over just the past few years, suddenly turned about face and started talking endlessly about how they're the leaders in privacy and respecting customer privacy.
These are the same companies that, for literally years, were more than happy for user data to be harvested and sold to third parties for various purposes, including the big cash cow, advertising. It was literally baked into business models.
Then online privacy became a hot-button topic and just how invasive these products, both physical and virtual were, got exposed and suddenly privacy had always been a focus for the companies, and they'd always had their users' total privacy at the forefront of their businesses.
Barf! Honestly, it has been nauseating to the extreme.
Now, look, any developments toward protecting user privacy should be welcomed, and I am all for the improvements to security and privacy companies are introducing, but this move by Google is the first one where I've gone, "yeah, these guys are properly serious about privacy".
I pay for a VPN, and have done now for many years, with ExpressVPN (opens in new tab) being my virtual private network of choice, but I'm guessing that many people still don't use one, so the fact that they can get one for "no extra cost" when buying a Pixel 7 or Pixel 7 Pro should make them much more appealing.
Now, users will be able to buy one of the best Android phones and take their privacy to a super strong new level all in one move.
I'd like a little bit more information about this deal to be honest, though, such as how long it is for and when it is actually going to be unlocked, but right now I am prepared to give Google the benefit of the doubt and take what it says at face value. That Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro are coming with a free VPN and that, in my mind, makes them handsets anyone currently looking to upgrade should at least consider.