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Google One VPN Is Bound for the Google Graveyard Later This Year

The service is shutting down due to too few people using it, despite a massive price drop in 2023.

Joe Hindy
3 min read
Google logo going across a smartphone screen

Goodbye, Google One VPN.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Google is preparing to send yet another product off to the great Google graveyard. This time, it's the VPN service that comes bundled with Google One subscription plans. The announcement was made to Google One subscribers via email, as seen on Reddit

Google is phasing out the VPN later this year, according to the email, although a specific date was not mentioned. 

A representative for Google said that the company was "discontinuing the VPN feature as [it] found people simply weren't using it." Deprecating the VPN feature allows the Google One team to "support more in-demand features with Google One."

The email mentions those "more in-demand features" as well, including Google opening up Magic Editor and other formerly Pixel-based features to Google One subscribers. Starting May 15, Google One subscribers can use these editing features on photos in their Google Photos library. Some of the features, such as Magic Editor, will have a limited number of free uses per month. To unlock unlimited editing, you'll need a $10 per month or more Google One subscription

Google first launched Google One VPN in 2020 as part of its $100 annual bundle with 2TB of Google Drive storage. The company eventually added the VPN to the $2 per month tier to entice more people to use it. The company marketed its VPN pretty heavily when it first came out, first with a white paper describing how the service works. Google would go on to open-source its VPN libraries and have a third-party research report done to prove that it was secure.

However, the service isn't without its flaws. It doesn't let you switch countries or select servers, which is one of the biggest reasons to use a VPN. In addition, while it boasts a no-logging policy, Google admits that it may collect logs in certain circumstances. Thus, people who want more freedom and more privacy would be better served by another VPN service

Google One's VPN was best utilized when connected to public Wi-Fi. Its no-nonsense interface made it easy to switch it on at a moment's notice, so you didn't have to go through any configuration hassle to simply keep yourself safe when on airport Wi-Fi. The app also featured a kill switch, so your data would cease to function if the VPN was interrupted, thus keeping users safe from prying eyes. 

The closing of Google One VPN doesn't have any impact on Google's other VPN services, at least not right now. Google Fi's VPN service, which it offers on all phones connected to Google Fi, will remain in place and available to subscribers. The Pixel VPN service available on the Pixel 7 and Pixel 8 series will also remain available. 

Which VPN should you switch to?

The biggest benefit of Google One VPN was that it was inexpensive. You could get the service for as little as $2 per month along with 100GB of Google Drive storage. That is a difficult price to match, since most VPNs tend to cost over $10 per month. There are some less expensive VPNs that you can check out, but getting another one for $2 per month is unlikely. 

You can come close. If you buy a yearly subscription to Proton VPN, it averages out to about $6 per month. Going for the two-year subscription lowers that to $5 per month on average. You do have to pay for both plans up front, which will cost you just under $72 and $120, respectively. It's a solid overall service with a high level of transparency. Mozilla VPN is competitive in terms of price, going for $5 per month if you opt for the annual subscription. 

Surfshark comes even closer. If you opt for the 12-month subscription, which bills out at as little as $41.86, you'll average $3 per month. Going for the two-year subscription lowers that to $2.29 per month. That is about as close as you're going to get for a budget-friendly VPN that competes in terms of price with Google One VPN. Surfshark offers a no-logging policy as well as some unique features. However, the prices do increase after your first subscription period ends, so make sure to read the fine print if you want to try it.