Chrome is one of the successful products from Google used by 65% of the internet users on the world. There is also a Chromium browser exactly similar to Google Chrome and offers same functionalities. If you are confused with these two browsers, here is an article explaining Google Chrome Vs Chromium browsers.
What is Chromium?
Chromium is an open source web browser developed and offered independently. Chromium offers the foundation source code for the development of Google Chrome browser. Without the Chromium, there would be no Google Chrome. Presently, less than 1% of Google Chrome users rely on Chromium for accessing the internet, because of its limited functionalities.
What is Google Chrome?
While the Chromium is an open source web browser, Chrome is a closed source browser. Google Chrome might have started with Chromium as its foundation, however, does not end with Chromium. It is much more stable than Chromium, and that makes it less vulnerable to crashes or bugs.
Chrome Vs Chromium
Google Chromium was launched on September 2008, the same day Google Chrome was introduced. Since the Chromium is an open source, there are several third parties who contributed to its development, alongside Google. Chromium is simply a subset of the Chrome, and the main difference is the stability levels. Chromium is quite rough around the edges – its latest version is more susceptible to crashes and much heavier than Google Chrome. Google has indeed warned users on Chromium download page that the web browser is buggy in nature.
Installing Chrome and Chromium
You can download the Chromium browser from the official Google site. Though it is an open source browser, Google maintains all aspects from development, support and site maintenance. Surprisingly, almost all the links are pointing users to use Google Chrome instead of Chromium on it’s own pages.
You need to navigate few links to get the download page. Good part is that the page will recognize your computer’s operating system automatically, if, not, you will have to select your operating system at the bottom of the page (for instance, Windows X64, Mac or Linux x64).
Click on the “downloadchromium” link to download the latest build of the browser. The file size of Chromium is much larger than from Chrome. Once downloaded and installed, you can use it like a normal browser.
On other hand, installation of Chrome is seamless and simple. Go to the official Chrome website and the page will automatically detect your operating system. Click on the “Download Chrome” button and install the application.
Feel and Look
Frankly, there are no real differences in the look of both the browsers. All menu items are same and command URLs like “chrome://settings” will work on both browsers.
Fortunately, both Chromium and Chrome can be run on the same computer system at the same time. Hence you don’t have to uninstall the Chromium before installing the Google Chrome. It is also interesting to note that other web browsers such as Yandex, and Opera can successfully leverage on Chromium foundation for their functionalities.
What Exactly the Differences?
The major difference between Chrome and Chromium is the purpose and the usage. Let us explain some important differences, as we understand.
Chrome collects and share more information with Google than Chromium. Google use information collected on Chrome to send relevant websites and ads to internet users, based on the websites they visit or use for longer periods.
2. Crash Reporting
There are a crash and error reporting feature on Google Chrome. This feature allows Chrome browser user to send messages on browser crashes to the Google analyzer feature. While Google Chrome can send reports on crashes to Google for onward analysis, Chromium does not have such features. By default, collection and sending information via Chrome browser to Google, is off, the user must turn it on to make it active.
3. Use for Testing Bugs and Fixes
The problem with Chrome is that it will automatically update to the latest version when connected to internet. There are no default settings to disable this auto update feature. This will be annoying sometimes that Google may remove well known feature in the latest version. For example, version 70 has favicons on the new tab page while earlier versions have large and easier to view thumbnails.
On other hand, Chromium will not have automatic update feature. This means, you have static browser that looks same forever unless you download and upgrade the version. Whenever there is bug fixing and testing required, developers need to use the fixed version to test the features properly. So they need to use Chromium instead of Chrome for bug fixing and testing purposes.
As an end user, you can use Chromium if you don’t want the auto update feature of Chrome.
4. Security Sandbox
Google Chrome comes with an additional security layer called sandbox. It helps to protect your computer from malware and vulnerabilities. The security Sandbox on Chromium can be easily disabled, especially on Linux platforms, these users have to re-enable the security sandbox and set it at default. This is not the case with Google Chrome where the security sandbox is enabled by default.
5. Additional Features in Chrome
Chromium can be referred to as an “open-source” web browser that forms the background of the Google Chrome web browser. One can conclude that the Google Chrome browser is based on the Chromium browser. The main difference here is that Google has added a number of features to the Google Chrome web browser that is not found in the Chromium. For example, automatic browser updates, automatic video download extension, and support for all video formats, are some of the features that can be found on Google Chrome, but not Chromium browser.
Google Chrome comes with some licensed codecs for diverse media formats; these include the AAC, mp3, and H.264. These codecs allow you to play diverse media contents, especially on websites that offer HTML 5 and H.264 formats for videos. Both the Chromium and Chrome browsers do come with the basic free codecs such as Theora, Opus, VP9 and WAV.
Google Chrome comes with the latest Adobe Flash PPAPI that is not found in Chromium. This will help to access Flash based on websites easily with Chrome. However, soon this will not make much difference, as Flash is a dying product. Users of Linux computers can rely on the standard Google chrome management software to update the Chrome browser.
What’s in Common?
Though there are several features found in Google Chrome that are absent in Chromium, both web browsers still have the same sync features that allow the user to log unto their Google accounts and sync their information or data. In fact, the first thing Chromium will ask after installation is to login with your Google account for synchronization of your profile data.
You will have same menu items and settings on both browsers. Other than the color of the icon, both browsers will look similar.
Chromium does not have auto update feature which some people may like. However it is not stable version for day to day use especially for financial transactions. Also it does not offer any other attractive features compared to commercial Chrome browser. Google tests Chrome thoroughly and offers secured and stable browser. Unless you are a developer wanted to play around the source code, there are no need for normal users to switch from Chrome.