The latest version of the Opera browser comes with a variety of new features, the most significant of which may be its free, unlimited, virtual private network (VPN). The update makes the Norway-based Opera Software the first major browser maker to include an embedded VPN.
?EU?We strongly believe that if more people knew how the Internet truly works, they would use a VPN — and we hope that by making our browser VPN free and easy to use, it will become an essential tool for everyone,?EU? Krystian Kolondra SVP Global Engineering, Opera for computers, wrote in a blog post yesterday.
While far from commonplace, VPNs have become an increasingly popular way for users to protect themselves while searching the Internet. A VPN can mask a device?EU?s IP address, the unique identifier that can be used to locate a machine?EU?s geographical location, which can help a user get around content that might be geographically restricted.
In addition to allowing users to appear as though they are surfing from anywhere in the world, VPNs also protect them by making their connections to the Internet anonymous. They are particularly useful for protecting data when connecting via public networks, such as Wi-Fi hotspots. Opera is offering users access to five different servers located around the world, free of charge.
In his post, Kolondra said that the company hopes that including free VPN service directly into the Opera browser will encourage more people to use them. Only half of the users polled by the company even knew what a VPN was, according to Kolondra. Of those who were familiar with VPNs, more than 70 percent said they still didn?EU?t bother with them because they found the services either too difficult to use or they were unwilling to pay for them.