Called “Edge Secure Network,” Microsoft is currently testing the Cloudflare-powered VPN service and says it will release it to the public as part of a security update.
When enabled, the Edge Secure Network must encrypt users’ web traffic so Internet Service Providers can’t collect browsing information that you’d prefer to keep private, such as health-related searches or 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. That also means that users could access content that is blocked in their countries, such as shows from Netflix or Hulu.
However, there is a catch to this free service. Data usage is limited to 1GB per month, and users will need to sign in to a Microsoft account so the company can, ironically, track their usage.
Microsoft adds that while Cloudflare will collect support and diagnostic information from the service, the company will permanently delete that data every 25 hours.
While the feature is still in development and not yet available for early testing, Microsoft has detailed how users can try a preview. That suggests it could be rolling out soon to one of the Microsoft Edge Insider channels first, which users can download and join here.
Once it does, you can try out the preview version by opening Edge, going to Settings and more, and clicking on Secure network.
At that point, users will be prompted to sign in or create a Microsoft account. After doing so, a solid shield icon will appear in the browser frame, indicating that Microsoft’s Edge Secure Network is now activated. It will be turned off after the user closes the browser.
Microsoft is one of many browsers that offer some kind of VPN service. Opera comes with one free too, but popular browsers like Mozilla only offers a paid VPN servicelike Google Chromewhich could help improve Edge’s value proposition.