Opera has become the first major browser vendor to incorporate a free, built-in virtual private network (VPN) into its desktop browser.
Krystian Kolondra, SVP of Engineering and Head of Opera for computers, provides more information in a blog post.
"We are the first major browser maker to integrate an unlimited and free VPN or virtual private network," she explains. "Now, you don’t have to download VPN extensions or pay for VPN subscriptions to access blocked websites and to shield your browsing when on public Wi-Fi."
Currently, the VPN feature, which is available only for the Opera developer browser, has three simulated locations: the United States, Germany, and Canada. The engineers at Opera intend to add more locations in the future.
In the meantime, users of the developer browser can still use the VPN to hide their IP address, skirt around firewalls and other blocking measures so they can access their favorite content from anywhere, and improve the security of their personal information if they are connected to public Wi-Fi.
This latest development, along with Opera's announcement of a native ad-blocking feature earlier this year, responds to the changing needs of users as they browse the web.
"In January, we were reviewing our product plans, and we realized that people need new features in order to browse the web efficiently in 2016," Kolondra notes. "It also became apparent to us that what people need are not the same features that were relevant for their browsers ten years ago. This is why we today have more engineers than ever before working on new features for our desktop browser."
To access Opera's free, built-in virtual private network, download the Opera developer browser here. If you're on a Mac, navigate to the browser's "Settings" and click on "Privacy & security." You will be able to enable the VPN feature there.
Image By Alexander Supertramp