Would you prefer privacy or stability?
Chrome is, no doubt, the most widely used web browser among netizens. On the other hand, less than 0.03 percent of internet users try out Chromium.
Well, that is not the only difference between them. Chrome and Chromium are siblings that do not talk to each other. However, they share the same roots.
In this article, we will discuss how Chromium is different from Chrome and which one is best suited for you?
So without any small talk, let’s get started.
Table of Contents
What is Chromium?
Google launched the Chromium project alongside Chrome in September 2008. It is an open-source project that provides the source code for Chrome. Since Google can not share Chrome’s source code directly, they use this method to show you the closest possible product.
Unlike Chrome, anyone interested in developing a web browser is welcome to tinker with Chromium’s code. It has hundreds of enthusiastic developers trying to provide you the best browser at no cost, a step towards open internet.
Google launched Chromium, intending to receive better feedback over the bugs. Considering that it is an ongoing process, Chromium has shown us some unexpected results as well. In 2019 Microsoft started debugging Chromium intensely. They even boast about how their developers have added hundreds of commits in the source code. Later at the beginning of 2020, Microsoft announced the new Edge browser based on the Chromium source codes.
As far as the name goes, Chromium is a shared name for the open-source project and a web browser. Here, we are discussing only the browser and its capabilities. If you are a developer looking for technical stuff, I suggest you go to the official Chromium Project site.
Chrome Vs. Chromium: Overview
Chrome is a proprietary browser manufactured and maintained by Google. It has the foundation codes straight out of the Chromium project. However, Google then adds personal customization in Chrome. For instance, browser history tracking, flash support, and the automatic update feature.
Anyone can download this browser for personal use. However, you can not interfere with its source code, decompile it, or create another browser from it.
On the contrary, anyone can be a part of the Chromium project and contribute their inputs. You have to be part of the trusted group to provide the codes. However, you can debug it and send reports or feedback.
|Features||You get more features like an update mechanism, built-in support for multiple technologies, and digital rights management (DRM) components to play copyrighted content.||Does not contain any of these features|
|Stability||Much more stable than Chromium||It is more prone to crashes, even when compared to Chrome Canary.|
|Privacy||Automatically collects and transfers information to Google. This information can vary from crash reports, device operating system, and browsing behavior.||Collects and transfers less information. Does not transfer information such as crash reports and browsing habits.|
|Security||Since it is built on Chromium, the security mechanisms are similar. All security patches are updated automatically on Chrome||Just as secure as Chrome. However, user need to install the updates manually.|
|License support||Includes support for licensed codecs for proprietary media formats AAC, H.264, and MP3. Offers access to more media content, especially sites using HTML5 video to stream H.264 videos. Also includes basic, free codecs: Opus, Theora, Vorbis, VP8, VP9, and WAV||Only provides support for basic, free codecs: Opus, Theora, Vorbis, VP8, VP9, and WAV|
The Good and the Bad about Chrome
For the regular internet people, Chrome is second to none. It has all the essential features you would expect from a web browser. Besides, the support for countless extensions and themes adds another layer of usability to it.
Chrome is also stable than the Chromium browser due to frequent automatic updates and error reports. Besides, the stable version of Chrome has its codes vigorously tested before you receive the update. It also offers built-in support for numerous media plug-ins like Flash, AAC, H.264, and MP3.
Chrome does not have any drawbacks when compared to other popular browsers. However, someone concerned about privacy might feel insecure that Chrome stores your browsing data, cookies, and additional personal information. If that bothers you, try using the incognito mode to clear the history at the end of each session.
For better security, Chrome does not allow extensions from sources other than the chrome web store. It is because sometimes the external extensions can be malicious and cause damage to your system. However, you can enable the developer mode to have the freedom to use extensions from other sources.
The Good and the Bad about Chromium
Chromium is the best option for advanced users and developers since it is an open-source project. It let you use extensions from any source without any limitation. Besides, the Chromium browser does not track your browsing behavior, history, and other details or send any information to Google.
Chromium browser uses the Chromium project source code at the core. Therefore, it gets the most frequent updates compared to any other browser. Even Canary, a release channel of Chrome that gets an update every night, fails to compete with Chromium. However, here you have to install all the updates manually from the Chromium download page.
As far as the support for external codec goes, Chromium keeps itself private. It does not support the Flash player. Once, Flash was widespread worldwide, but it lost its usability as better alternatives came into play. Still, some sites don’t work correctly without Flash. You can write or add the necessary codes yourself to support Flash if required.
Chromium also does not support licensed media codec like AAC, H.264, and MP3. Therefore, if you need to use some streaming websites like Netflix and YouTube, we suggest opting for Chrome instead. Otherwise, you have to install the external codecs manually.
Finally, a significant difference between Chrome and Chromium is the security sandbox feature. It acts as a restricted environment for apps to check for any malicious behavior. Both Chrome and Chromium have this feature. However, Chromium might not have it enabled by default.
Is Chromium a Virus?
Short answer, no.
Chromium has seen some controversy in the past that has ruined its image for the regular users. However, anyone with little knowledge about online spam can assure you that Chromium is not a virus or malware in that manner.
Since it is an open-source project, anyone can download and create their browser out of the codes. Some developers have modified the code and spread malware on the user’s computer using Chromium.
You might download the malicious version if you are looking for something extraordinary with Chromium on the net. The tweaked versions can be dangerous for your system. therefore, we highly advise you to download the Chromium from a trusted source only.
Chrome Vs. Chromium: Which One Should You Use
Chromium is better in many aspects than Chrome. It provides a better sense of privacy by not providing your browsing habits to the manufacturer. Besides, if you are an advanced user, you can make Chromium compatible according to your use.
Some Linux-based open-source distributors even use a moded version of Chromium as the default browser in their operating system.
If you are not passionate about open-source stuff, it’s best to use Chrome. It has all the necessary functionalities one might require from a web browser. Besides, its support for increasing usability through extensions is breathtaking.