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Google One’s VPN gets the kill pill; Pixel VPN stays

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  • 2 min read

Google has announced its decision to discontinue the VPN feature within Google One, attributing the move to the low level of engagement among users. Initially launched in 2020 and expanded to all Google One plans in the previous year, the VPN service will be phased in the coming months.

The VPN was initially marketed as an additional security measure for Android users, promising to safeguard their data and ensure online privacy. Google also promoted the tool among the masses by providing detailed insights into its functionality through a white paper. It subjected the system to third-party audits, highlighting its transparency and reliability.

But despite these efforts, user adoption of the VPN remained limited. Google told 9to5Google that they are “discontinuing the VPN feature as [they] found people simply weren’t using it.” This will let the team “refocus and support more in-demand features with Google One.”

Initially included in the Premium plan at $9.99 per month, the VPN’s accessibility was broadened with a reduced price of $1.99 per month in March 2023. However, even with these adjustments, the VPN’s usage did not meet the company’s expectations.

Google’s decision to discontinue the VPN aligns with its strategy to allocate resources towards more popular features within Google One. With over 100 million Google One subscribers and a focus on AI-driven growth, Google aims to prioritise features that resonate strongly with its user base.

Existing users of Google One’s VPN will be encouraged to explore alternative third-party VPN solutions as the company phases out these features. It’s important to note that the free VPN service provided with Pixel devices will remain unaffected, ensuring continued privacy options for Pixel users.

Google has closed several of its tools following user apathy. For example, the company closed down Google Stadia in January 2023 and launched in 2019.

Similarly, Google closed Hangouts in 2022 and directed people to Chat. Again, in 2023, Google shut down Currents and in 2020, Google replaced Play Music with YouTube Music.

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Kumar Hemant

Deputy Editor at Candid.Technology. Hemant writes at the intersection of tech and culture and has a keen interest in science, social issues and international relations. You can contact him here:

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