With Pixel 7's Built-In VPN, Google's Giving You a Security Boost

The feature is a first for Google's Pixel phones and adds an extra layer of security and privacy.

Bree Fowler Senior Writer
Bree Fowler writes about cybersecurity and digital privacy. Before joining CNET she reported for The Associated Press and Consumer Reports. A Michigan native, she's a long-suffering Detroit sports fan, world traveler, wannabe runner and champion baker of over-the-top birthday cakes and all-things sourdough.
Expertise cybersecurity, digital privacy, IoT, consumer tech, smartphones, wearables
Bree Fowler
2 min read
An image of Android 13's new privacy and security settings.

Google will be putting all of its smartphone privacy and security settings into one place.


Google's new Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro phones will feature a VPN for the first time.

Google made the announcement Thursday at its hardware launch event in New York, where it also touted new Google network routers, doorbells and the Pixel Watch. The VPN, which will roll out later this year, won't cost extra, Google says.

Virtual private networks are designed to help protect a user's security and privacy by both masking their IP address and encrypting the data being sent to and from their devices, leaving it useless to anyone who might intercept it.

VPNs are used by both businesses and consumers and can come as both free and paid services. In addition to using them for boosting security and privacy, some people also use VPNs to block their geographic location so they can stream out-of-market TV shows that would have otherwise been blocked.

That said, many cybersecurity experts are wary of consumer VPNs, saying that there's no guarantee that they will keep a user's private data private if it's requested by law enforcement. There's also nothing stopping VPN providers from selling the user data they collect to third parties.

Watch this: Watch Google's Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro Reveal

Google says that unlike those kinds of VPNs, its won't be able to associate app and browsing traffic with a user's Google account or identity. 

Google also announced Thursday that Android 13 will make managing privacy and security easier by putting all of a device's related settings into one place. That feature will be rolled out to Pixel phones later this year, with other Android phones following soon after.