Opera preview build integrates a free VPN service with the browser

Opera wants to become the browser of choice for users concerned about privacy. In March, the company introduced a native ad-blocking service. Now it's taking another step in that direction. The company has announced that it has integrated a free and unlimited VPN service into the latest developer build of its browser.

The service appears to be relatively easy to set up and use. After a simple change in the settings menu, a button appears in the browser's address field. This button enables users to see and change their locations, check to see if their IP is exposed, and turn VPN services on and off.

VPNs are already popular around the world, so it'll be interesting to see how this service affects Opera's popularity. Opera cites research from the Global Web Index that  indicates 24% of internet users around the world have tried a VPN service. 38% of them do so to "access better entertainment content." Netflix isn't only the reason that people want VPNs, though. Respondents to the poll also cite anonymity as a primary concern, and expressed a desire to access networks, sites, and news websites restricted by their country or employer.

Opera's VPN service won't be the only one on the market, of course, but most of its competitors operate on a subscription model. Private Internet Access, for example, charges $7 a month. It's hard to argue with free, so if Opera can avoid some of the security flaws that have cropped up with other VPN services, its integrated VPN might give users a compelling reason to switch browsers. If you're interested, you can grab the Opera developer build for Windows, Mac and Linux here.

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