Data security is (or should be) important to everyone, which is why public WiFi hotspots can be so troublesome. In an increasing mobile world, securing yourself on open networks isn’t always easy, but it seems as though Google is making strides in that arena. Deep in Android 5.1, which is just rolling out, is a service that lets you set up a Virtual Private Network (VPN) right on your Android device. Though not quite functional just yet, it gives insight into what might be around the corner.
An app named “Google Connectivity Services” resides deep in Android 5.1. Launching the app isn’t very easy (Pocketables, who first spotted the feature, used a secondary app to create a shortcut icon on the home screen), or functional, but it probably will be in a future iteration of Android.
Once you get the app open, Google offers to let you link to an open network (like public WiFi hotspot) via VPN to protect your data transmission. The app currently stops short of actually allowing you to set up a VPN, but the framework is in place.
What’s this all about? Nobody knows, but it’s interesting. Google likely didn’t finish work on this VPN feature, and didn’t think some sleuth would discover it in the apps drawer. If Google still intends to release the feature, it’s possible we’ll see it in the next iteration of Android, but don’t hold your breath. Android 5.1, where this was discovered, is brand spankin’ new.