Google One VPN Review

Google is an old company that only joined the VPN industry in 2020 when it launched its own VPN service. The Google One VPN still has a long way to go before it can compete with the VPN giants, but let’s take a closer look before jumping to conclusions.

Max Pitchkites
By Max Pitchkites (Writer)
— Last Updated: 2021-11-10T21:29:56+00:00 Facts checked by Elisabeth Ivey
Starts from $ 833 per month
Save 17 % (All Plans)

In October 2020, Google joined in the growing VPN industry when it released the Google One VPN. For now, Google’s Android-only VPN is available simply as a bonus feature bundled with a Google One subscription and can’t be purchased separately. In this Google VPN review, we’ll see what this VPN has to offer and whether a Google service can actually protect your privacy.

Key Takeaways:

  • The Google VPN is only available for Android devices through the Google One app.
  • Users can only connect to the VPN from eighteen countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico and Spain.
  • Google has not violated the VPN’s privacy policies, but the company has breached its users’ privacy with other Google services.
  • This VPN service doesn’t have many features at the moment — you can’t even change your country location — but Google plans on adding new features in the future.

At first glance, the Google VPN doesn’t have much to offer. Its availability is limited and it only comes with a handful of features. However, it’s important to remember that this VPN just celebrated its first birthday and may blossom into a fuller VPN service in the future, as Google plans on expanding its capabilities with time. For now, it may be useful to some Android users, but probably not many.

However, even if the Google VPN acquires new protocols, servers and other features, can you really trust Google with your privacy? Privacy is the big question prospective users have regarding the new Google VPN, so we’ll take a look at Google’s track record of protecting its users’ privacy — or not — and if that makes or breaks the deal.

  • The Google VPN is fast, but it is light on features and isn’t very accessible. Some Google One users may find it useful for fast streaming on their Android devices, but it is difficult to trust as a privacy tool. We recommend other VPNs for privacy and security.

  • Although Google has not breached its commitment to its VPN user’s privacy, Google’s history of tracking and distributing user data casts doubt on the safety of this VPN.

  • No, it can only be obtained by purchasing at least 2TB of Google One storage.

Google One VPN Review: Alternatives

Google One VPN Strengths & Weaknesses

Pros:

  • Fast
  • Offers split tunneling
  • Decent customer support

Cons:

  • Available on Android only
  • Packaged with Google One
  • Very few features
  • Can’t change server locations
  • Poor privacy through Google

Features

10 % – Terrible

The age of this new VPN is evident in its lack of features. When you access the VPN’s settings, you will find only three features: a kill switch, split tunneling and a snooze button. Furthermore, it’s only available for subscribers of Google One who also own an Android phone, at least until Google acts on its plans to support more platforms.

vpn settings
The VPN by Google One is fast, but doesn’t have many features.

Clicking the “allow apps to bypass VPN” option opens a menu of your device’s apps that you can exclude from the VPN’s encryption tunnel. After making your selection, the VPN needs to restart in order for the split tunneling to take effect, but the secure connection is restored after a few seconds.

google snooze
The snooze feature temporarily disconnects the VPN if it interferes with other apps.

You can temporarily deactivate the VPN for five minutes by activating the snooze feature. The VPN will automatically connect after the timer reaches zero, but you can add an additional five minutes while the snooze timer counts down.

The kill switch needs little explanation. Simply throw the switch beside the option “block internet if VPN disconnects” and your internet traffic and IP address will be protected against sudden connection losses.

Google One VPN Features Overview

General
Payment methodsPayPal, Credit card
Accepts cryptocurrency
Simultaneous connections
Supports split tunneling
Unlimited bandwidth
Free trial available
Refund period
Worldwide server amountUnknown
Desktop OSes
Mobile OSesAndroid
Browser extensions
Can be installed on routers
Streaming
Can access Netflix US
Can access BBC iPlayer
Can access Hulu
Can access Amazon Prime Video
Security
Encryption typesUnknown
VPN protocols availableUnknown
Enabled at device startup
Allows torrenting
No-logging policy
Passed DNS leak test
Killswitch available
Malware/ad blocker included
Support
Live Chat24/7
Email support24/7
Phone support24/7
User forum
Knowledgebase

Pricing

60 % – Fair

The VPN is not priced individually, so you will have to pay for at least 2TB worth of Google One online storage space to get it. 

google one storage plans
The VPN is available with a minimum purchase of 2TB of storage.

The 2TB plan costs $9.99 per month or $99.99 per year in the Google store. The VPN is also included in the 5TB plan, priced at $24.99 per month or $249.99 per year; 10TB for $49.99 per month; 20TB for $99.99 per month and the 30TB plan for $149.99 per month.

Unlike all the best VPNs out there, the Google VPN service does not have a money-back guarantee or a free trial of any sort.

User Friendliness

85 % – Very Good

The VPN itself is very user-friendly. In fact, there are so few menus and submenus that a VPN beginner could easily figure out how to use all of its features in minutes. It’s a minor hassle to access the VPN, though, because it’s buried within the Google One app. The VPN itself does not have its own app or icon that you can access from your phone’s menu.

google vpn
The VPN by Google One is only available for Android.

Another barrier to obtaining the Google One VPN is its geographic availability, which is limited to eighteen countries. That includes the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Austria, Spain, among others. The VPN simply won’t work if you try to use it from any other location, but Google One users still have access to their online storage space from elsewhere in the world.

Speed

90 % – Excellent

There’s nothing to complain about regarding the Google One VPN’s speed performance. We were able to browse the internet with no noticeable latency while using the VPN. Before connecting, our base internet speed reached a download speed of 58.45 Mbps, an upload speed of 11.93 Mbps and a ping of 29 ms, according to speedtest.net.

Our fastest speed test while using the VPN retrieved a 35.98 Mbps download speed, a 10.83 Mbps upload speed and a ping of 26 ms. Our slowest speed test returned a download speed of 20.35 Mbps, an upload speed of 10.26 Mbps and a ping measured at 27 ms. 

Even while connected to a slower server, we were still able to browse the internet and watch HD videos on YouTube without any buffering or slow load times.

LocationPing
ms
Download
Mbps
Upload
Mbps
Unprotected2958.4511.93
Test 1
26
35.98
10.83
Test 2
27
20.35
10.26
Average
27
28.17
10.55

According to the Google One VPN white paper, the VPN only supports a single proprietary VPN protocol. It is not clear what kind of encryption the VPN uses or how secure it is. Google goes on to state its interest in supporting other protocols in the future, namely IPsec and possibly WireGuard.

If you want a fast VPN with more features, take a look at our ExpressVPN review — the fastest VPN out there with excellent features, security and privacy.

Privacy & Security

50 % – Poor

The big question about this VPN is the matter of privacy when we consider the company that produced it. While VPNs are intended to be secure online protection tools in principle, Google’s checkered past with its users’ private data raises some red flags.

Even if the software itself is solid from a security perspective, there’s no telling whether Google can be trusted to uphold its own privacy policy when the company has violated it in the past, on multiple occasions.

“Google will never use the VPN connection to track, log or sell your browsing activity,” the company’s logging policy says with a footnote on its Google One VPN webpage. “Some minimum logging is performed to ensure quality of service, but your network traffic is never logged and your IP is not associated to your activity.” 

To date, there have been no known incidents of Google breaching its customers’ trust as far as the VPN is concerned. Whether your online activity is visible to Google or not is another question.

Google’s Track Record On Privacy

Some past privacy incidents at Google are worth taking into account before signing up for the Google One VPN. In June 2020, Google was charged in a proposed class action lawsuit with illegally collecting the search and browsing data of millions of Chrome users.

The complaint alleged that Google tracked the online activities of millions of Google users who used Chrome’s incognito mode since June 1, 2016, arguing that the company’s data collection practices violate federal wiretapping laws and California privacy laws.

In a 2018 incident, Google allegedly permitted third parties to read the emails of thousands of Gmail users without their knowledge or consent; both third parties were app developers. One of these developers trained Gmail’s “smart reply” feature by giving it thousands of emails to analyze, but human employees read the emails themselves in addition to the AI.

If you want a good VPN with strong security and privacy, check out our most secure VPN list instead.

Streaming Performance

50 % – Poor

The Google One VPN performed well when streaming content from Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. We were prohibited from streaming Hulu because the service detected and blocked our VPN, which confirmed the service’s lack of obfuscation features. Check out our best VPN for streaming list if you want a more versatile VPN.

Server Locations

1 % – Terrible

Enabling the Google One VPN automatically connects you to a server without providing a list of server options. In fact, there is no way to tell how many servers are on Google’s VPN network or where they are located.

We were able to use third-party tools like speedtest.net to discover server locations in Kansas, Iowa and Illinois. It is not known whether there are servers in any of the advertised countries outside of the United States.

Customer Support

90 % – Excellent

The VPN’s customer support is simply the Google One customer support service, which is known as “Google Experts.” You can speak with a Google representative in five different languages through email, phone or online chat.

google pro sessions
Schedule one-on-one meetings with Google professionals for personalized privacy advice.

Google One subscribers at the 2TB plan or higher get access to “pro sessions,” which are one-on-one meetings with Google professionals. Subscribers can schedule support meetings for improving their security and privacy with specific Google services, including the VPN.

This feature is only available in English and to those who reside in the United States, the United Kingdom or Canada.

The Verdict

Due to issues of accessibility, privacy and a lack of features, Google’s VPN is not likely to acquire a large user base in its current form. However, development for this VPN is ongoing: Google plans to make the VPN available on other platforms including ChromeOS, iOS, Windows and Mac, and it plans to adopt more VPN protocols.

Despite these promising hints, the Achilles’ heel of the Google One VPN comes down to the company’s trustworthiness. Trust is paramount when signing up for VPN services, no matter the company. Google’s history of privacy breaches is not reassuring even though there are no known incidents with the VPN itself, and no amount of new features will improve that.

Whether you can entrust Google with your privacy is up to you. Nevertheless, we suggest you take a look at our best VPN list for some better VPN services that will have way more features, a larger server network and strong security and privacy.

What are your thoughts on this Google One VPN review? Will you try the VPN app for Android? Is Google too risky to trust with your privacy, or has the VPN helped fortify your privacy instead? Are there other reasons to use the Google One VPN? Will you use some other VPN? Let us know in the comments below and, as always, thanks for reading.

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