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 has revealed.
Called the “Edge Secure Network,” Microsoft is currently testing the Cloudflare-powered VPN service and says it will roll it out to the public as part of a security upgrade.
When enabled, Edge Secure Network should encrypt users’ web traffic so that Internet Service Providers cannot collect browsing information you’d rather keep private, such as health-related searches or any just weird queries.
The new feature will also allow users to hide their location by allowing them to browse the web using a virtual IP address. It also means that users can access content blocked in their country like, for example, Netflix or Hulu shows.
There is a catch to this free service, however. Data usage is capped at 1GB per month, and users will need to be signed into a Microsoft account for the company to ironically track their usage.
Microsoft adds that while Cloudflare will collect support and diagnostic information from the service, the company will permanently dispose of this data every 25 hours.
Although the feature is still under development and not yet available for early testing, Microsoft has detailed how users could try out a preview. This suggests it could be rolling out to one of the Microsoft Edge Insider channels soon, which users can download and join here.
Once it’s done, you can try out the preview version by opening Edge, heading to Settings and more, and clicking on Secure network.
At this point, users will be prompted to sign in or create a Microsoft account. After that, a solid shield icon will appear in the browser frame indicating that Microsoft’s Edge secure network is now enabled. It will turn off once the user closes the browser.
Microsoft is one of many browsers that offers some kind of VPN service. Opera also comes with a free browser, but popular browsers like Mozilla only offer paid VPN service, as does Google Chrome, which can potentially help improve Edge’s value proposition.