Earlier this month, Project Fi was rumored to be dropping the “project” status from its branding and logo. That has yet to happen, but the Google MVNO is announcing today an “enhanced network” that improves switching between Wi-Fi and cellular, with the latter connection now routed through a VPN.
Project Fi’s “enhanced network” announcement today is primarily composed of extending the existing virtual private network for Wi-Fi to all connections. Touting “security and privacy,” data in transit over cellular networks will now be protected.
When you’re on the go, you’re likely connecting to new networks, and the security of all networks isn’t made equal. When you enable our enhanced network, all of your mobile and Wi-Fi traffic will be encrypted and securely sent through our virtual private network (VPN) on every network you connect to, so you’ll have the peace of mind of knowing that others can’t see your online activity.
To allay privacy concerns from Google, Project Fi notes that traffic is not tied to your Google account or phone number. The Project Fi companion app is gaining a “Fi Network Tools” menu. Here, users can “Enhance network,” with the functionality still in beta.
Android’s VPN key icon with a ‘G’ logo will appear in this status bar when the VPN is active, with Google noting an approximately 10% increase in data usage. Meanwhile, users could also expect some slowdowns due to the nature of traffic being routed.
The second aspect of Google’s enhanced network sees mobile data kick-in quickly when Wi-Fi reception is poor. Google notes that “time without a working connection” has been reduced by up to 40% in testing.
If you’ve ever left your house and walked toward your car, you might have noticed your connection slows or even stops altogether as your phone clings to a weakened Wi-Fi connection. With our enhanced network, you’ll have a seamless connection on the go, and waiting to be reconnected becomes a thing of the past.
Both features will begin rolling out this week to Fi-compatible phones running Android 9 Pie, like the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL.