Google is shipping its first big Android patch since the release of Android 13.
Rolling out to Pixel phones now is Android 13 Quarterly Platform Release 1 (QPR1), which contains a few new features, 77 bug fixes named in a huge support post, 151 Pixel-specific security issues outlined in the December Security Bulletin for Pixels, and a bunch of other security patches in the more generic Android Security Bulletin. On the Pixel 7, this is a monster 500MB patch.
The Pixel 7 is getting an always-on VPN from Google, just like the VPN service that is already offered to Google Fi (Google cell service) and Google One (extra Google storage) subscribers. The feature will run all your traffic through an encrypted tunnel that connects directly to Google’s servers and could theoretically stop Internet service providers and other Wi-Fi users from spying on your activity. It’s hard to say who a Google VPN is for since, if you’re privacy-conscious, Google is probably near the top of the list of companies you don’t trust, but it’s here if you want it. For what it’s worth, Google says it only does “minimal logging” and doesn’t track users. To enable the VPN, you’ll need to install the “Google One” app if it’s not already on your phone.