Hola unlocks more of the net, geoblocking takes a backseat

We get it, internet: we’re in Australia, and a lot of what runs on you we’re not supposed to see. It could be TV shows, movies, or music services, and while some local providers have some solid efforts, we’re still not satisfied, which is why we’re intrigued to see the Hola browser plugin that fixes all of this is getting better.

Improving on the initial release we checked out several months ago for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox, the latest version of Hola – which if you already have will automatically be up to date – has been updated and now includes more services you can unblock yourself from, including several American cable networks such as A&E, USA, and SyFy, as well as some online services, and English TV channels.

The more developer friendly of you out there will also be intrigued to see that Hola has made a scripting language which you can play with to unblock other sites you encounter.

Hola on Chrome: there are now lots of services you can unblock yourself from.

Mobiles aren’t left out of Hola’s development plans, either, with Android devices now able to install the Hola unblocker, which – on the devices we tested – will automatically setup a connection to Hola’s virtual private network or VPN, and grant you access to normally blocked sites.

There is a catch for mobile devices, and that is not all sites on the mobile will let you do what their desktop full-size counterparts will, such as those from CBS and Netflix, which load on the mobile, but won’t play back as much episodic TV or clips.

Install Hola on Android and you’ll get similar access, though not all sites will work like their full-size browser versions.

Hola also hasn’t made the same type of unblocking available across the mobile front yet, and that’s likely because the websites many of us trying to gain access to require apps for on-the-go mobile viewing, which either won’t work with the service Hola has created or the apps aren’t available in the country.

But we suspect the team at Hola is looking for ways to poke holes in the geoblocking situation, and we are too, testing out Android apps in Australia on mobile and WiFi connections to see if we can overcome the geographic lockout to watch some telly when we’re stuck in traffic on a bus.

If you’re like us, stay tuned to this mobile unblocker, because from the looks of things, it seems to be among the best out there, and with a price of “free” is really hard to argue with.

It works: with the Netflix app running on an Australian smartphone on Telstra 4G, we could watch Futurama, among other things. 

UPDATE (June 25, 2015): An update to this article comes as an alert if you plan on using Hola for getting around geoblocking, as it has been found the extension and service was doing some less than honest things with its users’ bandwidth, turning it into a botnet that could be used for denial of service attacks or other possibly nefarious purposes.

This isn’t a good thing, and so if you plan to use Hola, tread carefully and be aware your information may be used for not so friendly purposes. If you still need a VPN, consider paying for access to one instead of relying on Hola.