Once exclusive to Project Fi, a new data saving Wi-Fi Assistant feature is rolling out to all Nexus devices in North America and some European countries. If you have a Nexus phone, the feature will allow you to easily connect to public Wi-Fi networks that Google has deemed to be fast, with an extra layer of security provided through a VPN…
At first set-up, the Wi-Fi Assistant appears as a notification offering to mange your Wi-Fi connections. Google maintains a database of a “million, free open Wi-Fi hotspots” that offer fast connection, and Wi-Fi Assitant pairs you automatically. After connecting, you can tell that a connection was made by the assistant through the VPN key logo in the status bar and a “Connected via Wi-Fi Assistant” message.
But on top of just connecting you, you also get extra security as Google routes all traffic through its own Virtual Private Network (VPN). Google notes that routing traffic through a VPN can cause geographically locked apps and content to not function properly, thus requiring a manual connection to the network.
The Wi-Fi Assistant is one part of Google Connectivity Services. From screenshots, it appears that an update is coming to the app that provides more Advanced settings as well as dedicated controls that are independent of the system Wi-Fi settings.
Google’s support page says the Wi-Fi Assistant is compatible with Nexus devices running Android 5.1 or above. It will be rolling out to users in the United States, Canada, Mexico, UK, and Nordic countries over the next few weeks.