Microsoft will soon be updating its Edge browser with privacy-focused features. One of them is a built-in virtual private network, VPN.
The Edge browser on Windows devices has been pretty good, but Microsoft is bundling in more privacy features. The software giant is planning to release a built-in VPN with the browser. The VPN is known as Edge Secure Network and is currently under testing.
A Microsoft support page says Edge Secure Network is powered by Cloudflare VPN service.
With the new feature, users can encrypt their web traffic to escape browsing data collection by internet service providers. This will allow them to make searches for terms they would rather not want to be associated with them or just protect their health information. It will also hide the history of websites you have visited.
According to Microsoft, Edge Secure Network improves your security online. The company says the build-in VPN “encrypts your internet connection to help protect your data from online threats like hackers. When using Microsoft Edge Secure network, your data is routed from Edge through an encrypted tunnel to create a secure connection, even when using a non-secure URL that starts with HTTP. This makes it harder for hackers to access your browsing data on a shared public Wi-Fi network.”
Users can also hide the location they are browsing from by using a virtual IP address. It is suitable for actions in grey areas like accessing content blocked geographically on streaming platforms like Netflix and Hulu. They may also be used to access websites blocked by some governments.
The VPN service will also make it impossible for online entities to track you for profiling and sending you unwanted targeted ads.
There are, however, terms and conditions to using Edge Secure Network. VPN consumes data, so users are limited to 1 GB per month. You can track how much data allowance you have left through Settings. Ironically, you need to be logged in on your browser so that Microsoft can track you, or more specifically, your usage. Cloudflare will also collect some of your data for support and diagnostic purposes, but the data would be deleted in 25 hours, maximum.
The new VPN feature is still in active development and is not available for testing yet. However, you can try out a preview. But when it becomes available, turning on the service is as simple as going to “Settings and more” and clicking on “Secure Network.” As mentioned earlier, you will be asked to sign in or log in with your Microsoft account. Once you pass this stage, a blue icon will show up in your browser frame, indicating you are browsing through a VPN.
Edge Secure Network will automatically turn off when you close the browser. This means you have to turn it on again for another browsing session.
Competing browsers have also included VPN browsing. For example, Opera has one built-in and free. Mozilla has VPN features, too, but you have to pay to use them.