Opera Software has integrated a new feature into its latest developer release of its free web browser for OS X that might case some users to take a second look at the perennial also-ran in the browser race. The company is offering a free Virtual Private Network (VPN) feature.
A VPN creates an encrypted tunnel from the user’s computer to the VPN server, hiding browsing activity from other users on the local network and enhancing security and privacy online. A VPN shields a user’s real IP address, allowing them to bypass firewalls, block tracking cookies, and access geo-restricted content regardless of their true location.
Most VPN’s come in the form of separate apps or plugins requiring a paid subscription. Opera’s move to offer one as a free feature of its browser comes after its acquisition of U.S. VPN company SurfEasy last March.
The browser’s built-in VPN currently allows users to select virtual locations in US, Canada, and Germany. Opera says it will make more countries available when the feature makes it to the stable public release of the browser.
Mac Users interested in trying out the Opera 38 developer release, which includes the integrated VPN feature, can download it here. After installation, the VPN feature can be enabled by clicking “Opera” in the menu bar, clicking on “Preferences,” and toggling the VPN switch to the “On” position.