The latest public edition of Opera includes a free one-click VPN. It offers both privacy and an attempt to get around region-blocking websites.
The VPN has previously been trialed in developer editions of Opera but is now available to all users. It needs to initially be enabled from the settings menu (under privacy and security) but can then be switched on and off with a button in the address bar. By my testing at least, using the VPN doesn’t appear to slow down your connection, though some reports say page load time increases.
By default the VPN switches to the fastest available server but there’s also an option to select from five countries (Canada, Germany, Netherland, Singapore and US.) It certainly appears to be working in terms of showing the desired location and allows playback on many normally blocked sites. However, it isn’t enough to overcome Netflix’s detection of proxy servers.
Although Opera is ultimately owned by a Chinese company, it insists the VPN is truly private. It says the browser itself remains under Norway’s privacy law while the VPN is operated by a company called SurfEasy under Canadian laws. It insists it does not log any of the activity under the VPN and thus has no data to collect or to hand over to officials.
The updated browser also includes support for Chromecast, a battery saving mode that triggers automatically when a laptop is unplugged, and support for RSS in a newsreader feature.