Opera's free VPN app expands to Android

Opera's free VPN for all is now on Android with added features including a Wi-Fi network security test.

Opera is expanding the reach of its free, mobile VPN app. The browser maker recently announced that Opera VPN is now available for Android in Google Play. The new app is similar to the iOS version Opera released in May.

Opera provides five virtual server locations to choose from including the United States, Canada, Germany, Singapore, and the Netherlands. These server locations can either help you stay secure while you’re using a public Wi-Fi hotspot or evade regional restrictions—just don’t count on fooling Netflix.

For this latest app Opera added a new feature that is not part of the iOS app, called the “Wi-Fi security test tool.”

operavpnwifisecurityscore

Opera VPN for Android’s Wi-Fi security test.

This feature tests the Wi-Fi network you’re connected to in order to see how secure it is. Testing my home network, Opera VPN gave me a B+. I lost points for having an exposed IP address, being at risk for Wi-Fi sniffing, and at risk for eavesdropping by my Internet service provider. No doubt that last risk is always there unless you activate Opera’s VPN, which the Protect WiFi button helpfully turns on for you.

The Android version also has a feature called Guardian that blocks ad trackers for you. Guardian is not on by default. The iOS version also blocks ad trackers for added privacy, but the feature is on by default and doesn’t have a fancy name like Guardian.

Overall the app is very simple to use. It only has three basic features: the VPN, the Wi-Fi test, and Guardian. When you first install the app it asks permission to use Android’s built-in VPN features, which then allows you to use Opera’s free VPN with a single tap.

The impact on you at home: As we discussed with Opera’s iOS app, this free VPN does collect information from your device, which you can read about in the company’s privacy policy. Ultra privacy-conscious users will want to take note that the VPN may collect web addresses you visit (but not page content), IP address locations, as well as information about your device type, browser type, and operating system type.

Previously, Opera told us it collects some of this information in order to “use anonymous market insights derived from customer usage to help support the service. We make this information available to third parties who are interested in better understanding the mobile ecosystem and how it’s evolving.”

Opera’s VPN services are provided by SurfEasy, a Canadian company that Opera acquired in 2015.

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