Virtual Private Networks, or VPNs as you probably hear them referred to, aren’t very interesting. Helpful, yes, but not something to get really excited about. Neither is privacy online, regardless of whether it’s something we should be more mindful of. How do you get someone to pay attention to these two subjects? Wrap them up in a single easy-to-use app, call it TunnelBear, and make it look awesome.
Updated on 05-13-2015 by Andy Boxall: TunnelBear is now available as a Chrome extension
The idea behind TunnelBear is to make these often complicated features easy for everyone to use. What’s more, it operates on your PC, Mac, through a Chrome browser extension, or your Android or iOS smartphone. That’s a considerable bonus, because we’re all using our mobile devices to browse the Internet and watch videos more and more.
Yep, we said watch videos. One of the most common uses for a VPN is to watch online streaming video in places where the service is usually blocked. On holiday in the UK and want U.S. Netflix? That’s what TunnelBear will facilitate. Setting the app up is easy, it’s turned on using an on/off switch, and selecting the country of choice is only a matter of tapping a Mario-like pipe on a cute map, then watching the titular bear make its way there. That’s it.
Once hidden behind the VPN, your own IP address isn’t visible on the Internet, and that means online trackers for advertising (or something more malicious) can’t follow you around. All of this is presented in a fun, incredibly cute, and simple to understand way. TunnelBear is designed to make this complex tech accessible to everyone, hence the inclusion of a big, friendly on/off switch to make it all work.
On your phone, TunnelBear stays active in the background, so you can use any app you like, whilst remaining invisible online. The app is free to download, but there are premium options. However, they’re presented in a way that makes you smile, so you won’t mind paying out if you want a little more flexibility. You can either pay $5 per month, or $50 for the year for unlimited use on three different devices.
TunnelBear can be downloaded for iOS or Android, plus it’s available as an app for Mac computers and Windows PCs. The latest addition to the family is a Chrome browser extension, which is slightly different to the desktop VPN apps, in that it only tunnels browser traffic, rather than every little bit of data.
TunnelBear could have been just another app with a fun name, but it makes a complicated and often tedious feature fun, and so simple anyone can use it. The fact it’s so damn cute is just a big, grizzly bonus.
Article originally published on 03-04-2015