Microsoft is adding a free built-in virtual private network (VPN) service to its Edge browser to enhance security and privacy. Microsoft support page revealed.
Called the “Edge Secure Network,” Microsoft is currently testing the VPN service powered by Cloudflare and says it will release it to the public as part of a security update.
When enabled, Edge Secure Network should encrypt user traffic so that web service providers cannot collect browsing information that you would prefer to keep private, such as health-related searches or simply bizarre queries.
The new feature will also allow users to hide their location by enabling them to browse the web with a virtual IP address. This also means that users could access content blocked in their home countries such as Netflix or Hulu shows.
However, there is a problem with this free service. Data usage is limited to 1GB per month, and users will need to be logged into a Microsoft account in order for the company to, well, ironically track their usage.
Microsoft adds that while Cloudflare will collect support and diagnostic information from the service, the company will permanently delete that data every 25 hours.
While the feature is still in development and not yet available for early testing, Microsoft has detailed how users might try previewing. This suggests that it could soon be released to one of the Microsoft Edge Insider channels first, which users can download and join here.
After it does, you can try the preview version by opening Edge, heading to Settings and more, and clicking on Secure Network.
At this point, users will be prompted to log in or create a Microsoft account. After doing so, a solid shield icon will appear in the browser frame, indicating that Microsoft’s Edge Secure Network is now enabled. It will turn off after the user closes the browser.
Microsoft is one of the many browsers that offer some kind of VPN service. Opera also comes with free, but more popular browsers like Mozilla only offer a paid VPN service, as does Google Chrome, so it may help to improve Edge’s value proposition.