Chromium is a web browser, an open-source project, the purpose of which is to provide users with fast and reliable access to the internet. In addition, Chromium is the base for many other browsers, the most famous of which is Chrome, developed by Google.
Since Chromium is a fully open source project, it is available in many Linux distributions directly from the standard repository. Due to this and some other reasons, this browser is very popular among users. In addition to that, Chromium builds are also available for Windows and macOS.
Where to get Chromium and Chrome?
On Linux, Chromium is the most common and easiest to install directly from the repository. For example, in Ubuntu, you can install it directly from the application center.
On Windows and macOS, using Chromium (in particular, downloading, installing and updating), unlike Linux distributions, is more complicated. It can be downloaded from the official download page, but due to the fact that the browser does not have an automatic system for checking and installing updates, the user will have to do this on their own or use third-party scripts.
On the contrary, with Google Chrome the situation is a bit different. To install it in Linux, go to the browser download page, download the package and install it. During installation, the official repository from Google will be added to the system, and later updates for the browser will be installed through the standard package manager of your distribution. The reason why Chrome is not initially in the distribution repositories is the closed source code of some of its components.
On Windows and macOS Chrome is also installed from the official download page.
What is in Chrome and absent in Chromium?
Chrome includes a number of closed source technologies that are not originally available from Chromium. In particular:
- Support AAC, H.264 and MP3 codecs giving the user more opportunities while watching audio and video content on the Internet. At the same time, both browsers support the main free codecs: Opus, Theora, Vorbis, VP8, VP9 and WAV;
- Adobe Flash (PPAPI): With Chrome comes the Pepper API Flash Plugin, which is updated instead of with a browser. Today it is the only way to get the latest version of Flash in Linux.
- Google Update is a mechanism for updating the browser, which is very important for Windows and macOS users.
Spyware in Chrome
Another reason why users prefer Chromium to Google’s browser is to collect and transfer some data from the browser to Google’s servers. We will analyze in more detail.
Google Chrome has a built-in mechanism for sending messages about crashes and application errors during operation, which is absent in Chromium. If the user has this feature enabled, information about crashes is sent to Google. When you use Chromium, you will not get bored with the bug report, and if you want to send information about the error, you will need to use another method.
Chromium also lacks a mechanism for collecting various user metrics that Chrome has.
However, Chromium still includes many features that use the Google server and are enabled by default. These functions can be viewed on the browser settings page. For example, it has a typo correction feature when typing a web address or a Google anti-phishing feature, etc.
So what to use?
Chromium is a project and is good because it is available in many Linux distributions that do not include Chrome due to licensing reasons. Some Linux distribution even installs Chromium as the default browser instead of Firefox. If you are an open source advocate and try to avoid closed source software, Chromium is a great option for you.
However, many users for whom the license of the application is not critical may prefer the brother’s Chromium-from Google. By installing Chrome, you get the best and fresher Flash-player and advanced features for viewing content on the Internet.
The result is that Chromium is easier to install and more convenient to use Linux users. The choice of Windows and macOS users in most cases will fall on Chrome, since with it there are no problems with updating, etc.