The feature was detailed on a Microsoft support page (via The Verge). It’s called Microsoft Edge Secure Network, and it’s meant precisely as a means to armor yourself from insecure networks and shady websites. The feature is currently in a preview stage — you’ll need to log in with your Microsoft account in order to use it, then head to the settings panel and click “Secure Network” to turn it on. The VPN, itself powered by Cloudflare, will give you 1GB of free data every month — it’s not immediately clear whether you’ll be able to get, or rather buy, more data, but the “free” wording indicates that might become a possibility in the future.
Where credit is due, credit is due: Microsoft Edge has improved significantly. Since it began utilising Chromium as its foundation and putting its own enhancements on top, the browser has really provided a pleasant browsing experience — that is, when it isn’t pushing you to stick with it. Despite Microsoft’s best efforts and the fact that it is beginning to gain traction, Chrome remains the undisputed market leader. An in-browser VPN is the latest attempt to bridge the gap and persuade you to switch while also improving your security and privacy.
If you want to try it out, it’ll likely land first for those on the Edge Insider channels. For regular users, though, it might be a few more weeks. It’s also not clear whether it’ll move to the Android version of Edge just yet, but this definitely sounds like the kind of feature that would make its way to multiple platforms.
It’s far from the only browser these days coming with a VPN. Opera also has one, and if you’re willing to pay, you can get an official VPN running in your Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome instances. The presence of a fully-free VPN on Microsoft Edge gives the browser an edge (no pun intended) over its two main competitors, and it’ll sure come handy for folks looking to boost up their online safety.