Microsoft is adding a free built-in virtual private network (VPN) service to its Edge browser in a bid to improve security and privacy, a Microsoft support page revealed.
Called ”Edge Secure Network,” Microsoft is currently testing the Cloudflare-powered VPN service and says it will roll it out to the public as a part of a security upgrade.
When turned on, Edge Secure Network should encrypt users’ web traffic so internet service providers can’t collect browsing information you’d rather keep private, like, say, health-related searches or just plain bizarre queries.
The new feature will also let users hide their location by making it possible for them to browse the web using a virtual IP address. That also means users could access content blocked in their countries like, for instance, Netflix or Hulu shows.
There’s a catch for this free service, though. Data use is limited to 1GB per month, and users will need to be signed in to a Microsoft account so the company can, well, ironically track their usage.
Microsoft adds that while Cloudflare will collect support and diagnostic information from the service, the company will permanently get rid of that data every 25 hours.
While the feature is still under development and not yet available for early testing either, Microsoft detailed how users could try out a preview. That suggests it could roll out soon to one of the Microsoft Edge Insider channels first, which users can download and join here.
Once it does, you can try out the preview version by opening up Edge, heading to Settings and more, and clicking on SecureNetwork.
At that point, users will be prompted to sign in to or create a Microsoft Account. After doing so, a solid shield icon will appear in the browser frame, indicating Microsoft’s Edge Secure Network is now turned on. It will turn off after the user closes the browser.
Microsoft is one of many browsers that offer some kind of VPN service. Opera comes with a free one as well, but more popular browsers like Mozilla only offer a paid VPN service, as does Google Chrome, thereby potentially helping improving Edge’s value proposition.