Google One VPN is dead, long live VPN by Google

Google Pixel 8a vs Pixel 8a camera shootout.
(Image credit: Future)

Google loves nothing more than offering its Pixel users an exclusive feature, be it first access to camera tools like magic eraser, a host of new AI tricks or even a security boost with its own VPN. 

Well, on June 20, Google changed its challenge on the best VPN services, replacing Google One VPN with Pixel VPN by Google. 

Originally touted as an exclusive feature for the Google Pixel 8 series, the latest Play Store update has seen the built-in VPN arrive on Pixel 7, 7 Pro, 7a and Pixel Fold handsets as well. That's great news for those with some of the best Android phones who want to stay secure and safe when connected to the internet. Best of all, despite the rebrand, it's still free for Pixel owners.

Update: some Pixel owners have been reporting difficulties connecting to the internet with the new VPN enabled. If you're on a Pixel 7 device and can't find your phone's shiny new VPN, try updating the system software. 

What's new?

Google One VPN

(Image credit: Google)

For a start, the logo. Gone is the iconic 'One' design, replaced with a "G" on a blue shield. But that's enough about graphic design, what is functionally different?

Well, it's not quite launched yet, but early impressions suggest very few changes. The headline is the support of slightly older Pixels which is great news, especially considering Google wants us to keep using its phones for longer with lengthy update support guarantees. 

Something that you might notice is that instead of a persistent notification with a numerical "1" symbol, you will instead find a key shaped icon in the status bar. A nice little change but again hardly revolutionary. 

What are the alternatives?

ExpressVPN vs NordVPN

(Image credit: Future)

If you have a Pixel but want the top level of protection, or quite understandably don't trust Google, then you don't need to worry. The best Android VPNs provide privacy and safety at all kinds of different price points. Of course, Google's VPN is free to Pixel owners, but it's not the only choice out there. Our favourite free VPN right now is PrivadoVPN Free

For those on iOS, you need not feel left out either. We've got you covered with the best iOS VPNs. On both Android and iOS, our top choice would be between ExpressVPN and NordVPN. You can't go far wrong with either. 

Andy Sansom
Staff Writer – VPN

Andy is Tom's Guide Staff Writer for VPNs and privacy. Based in the UK, he originally cut his teeth at Tom's Guide as a Trainee Writer (go and click on his articles!) before moving to cover all things Tech and streaming at T3. He's now back at Tom's Guide to keep you safe online, and bring you the latest news in VPN and cybersecurity.