Difference Between Google Chrome And Chromium Browser

You must have heard about Chrome browser and Chromium browser. Ever wondered what they are and how do they defer. Actually, Google’s Chrome itself is a Chromium browser.

Chromium browser is an open-source web browser developed and maintained by The Chromium Project. The git rolling release web browser was first introduced in 2008, and its different parts are released under different free software licenses which include BSD License (for the portion written by Google) and MIT License, LGPL, etc. for other portions.

Google uses the Chromium browser engine to power its own Chrome browser by adding extra add-ons to make it faster, more efficient and easy to use. For the uninitiated, Google Chrome browser was released in 2008 and the reason why Chrome and Chromium browser are tied to each other is that Chome borrows Chromium’s source code.

You can differentiate Chrome and Chromium browser by looking at their logo. Google Chrome is colorful, and Chromium is blue. However, that’s not the only difference between Chrome and Chromium.

What are the differences between Chrome and Chromium browsers?

Automatic Updates

Chrome uses Google Update on Windows (GoogleSoftwareUpdateAgent and GoogleSoftwareUpdateDaemon on Mac) to automatically update to the latest version. This is where the Chromium browser differs. As the project is open-source one, it does not get weekly, monthly or fortnightly updates. Rather, when the developers think that they are ready with new features to be added to the Chromium project, they release a new version of the Chromium browser.

Usage tracking and crash reporting

As Chromium doesn’t have a centralized ownership, nobody tracks you. Unlike Chromium, Google has added the crash reporting and send usage statistics options. Chrome sends back user data to Google servers so that Google can then give your better services and target you with contextual ads. It includes general data like information about your device and OS, Chrome settings, visited websites having malware, search queries, etc.

Privacy lovers can note that crash reporting and usage tracking can be disabled from Chrome’s settings but still, Google tracks you using other sensors.

Chrome Web Store

Like I said above, Chromium has no centralized ownership so there is no webstore. On the other hand, Google has provided a live and thriving webstore for Google Chrome.

Media Codec support

Chromium’s HTML5 audio/video codec support is limited to what is available as non-proprietary codecs like Theora, Vorbis, WebM, VP9, etc. In the case of Chrome, it adds support for some non-free stuff like AAC, MP3, and H.264.

Non-optional tracking

Google Chrome installer includes a randomly generated token. The token is sent to Google after the installation completes in order to measure the success rate.

Google also uses the RLZ identifier to track a user on Google Search and while using the address bar. The RLZ identifier stores information – in the form of encoded strings – like the source of chrome download and installation week. It doesn’t include any personal information, and it’s used to measure the effectiveness of a promotional campaign. Chrome downloaded from Google’s website doesn’t have the RLZ identifier. The source code to decode the strings is made open by Google.

Sandbox

Both Chrome and Chromium browser have Sandbox support. It is always enabled in the case of Google Chrome. For Chromium, some Linux distributions may disable the Sandbox feature.

Adobe Flash Plugin

Although, this difference between Chrome and Chromium doesn’t matter much as Adobe Flash is being phased out for the newer HTML5. Google Chrome supports a Pepper API version of Adobe Flash which gets updated automatically with Chrome. Since it’s not open source, Chromium doesn’t support it out-of-the-box like Google Chrome.

Chrome Vs Chromium: Which one is better?

This one’s easy to answer! Since Google Chrome is a child of Chromium, it has many features that Chromium doesn’t have. Further, Chromium is always a work in progress and therefore it may have bugs which are yet to be discovered.

In the case of Linux, known for its love for free and open source software, Chromium might be a better option. But you’ll have to live with the fact that it doesn’t update automatically, lacks Adobe Flash plugin and other media codecs.

Remember, like Google uses Chromium for Chrome, Opera and Mozilla also use it to power their own Opera browser and Firefox browsers.

For more see:

OODA LLC – Technology Due Diligence – CTO as a service – CISO as a Service