Chromium & Chrome Browsers | Differences & Advantages of the Two Browsers

While using Google, most of us get the option to download and make chrome our default browser. Going by the Google’s popularity, it does not come as any surprise that predominant users use the chrome browser. However, you sometimes also come across something known as a chromium browser. Google Chrome has been a favorite option ever since its launch in 2008, but very few are aware of the chromium browser which was also released at the same time. Few who know it believes chrome and chromium as one. However, they have few significant underlying differences between them. In this article, we would highlight the difference between the Google Chrome and the Chromium browser. Read on:

Defining Chrome Browser & Chromium:

As already stated, for any laymen, both browsers mean the same thing. The only difference lies in the blue logo and blue interface of the chromium browser. However, any tech-savvy can understand the underlying difference. Chrome is an open-sourced web browser and a proprietary Google product which borrows Chromium’s source code. Chromium, in contrast, is the purest form of chrome. A more stable and robust version of chrome, it flaunts a whole bunch of common features as well as some non-free components. Chromium is more compatible with Linux platform while Chrome performs better on Windows and Mac platform. However, both can function on all three platforms.

Differences Between Chromium & Chrome Browser:

Now that we have understood the basic concept of both browsers, let us throw light on some of the essential differences that distinguish the two.

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  • Usage Tracking and crash & error reporting

A significant difference between the Chromium and Chrome is the latter’s ability to send usage data statistics as well as crash and error reports to Google servers. The information also includes all other general information about your device, OS and Chrome settings, your search queries; all websites visited including those having malware, etc. This information is utilized by Google to make suggestions to you as well as send relevant ads to you. As a user, you have the option to enable or disable this feature from Chrome’s settings. Chromium does not submit reports.

  • Automatic updates

Another major difference between the two browsers is in their automatic update feature. Thanks to the Google update element on Windows and Mac, Chrome regularly gets updated to the latest version. This is not possible with Chromium as Linux platform has standard software management tools. It needs to be manually updated. Often Linux distributions update chromium through package repositories.

  • Extension restrictions

To enhance functionality, any user can add extensions to both browsers. However, for Google Chrome, you can only add those extensions which are hosted in the Chrome Web Store. Extensions outside the store cannot be added. Chromium displays no such restrictions. One can add any extension one desires via the developer mode.

  • Media codec support

Chromium has a limited HTML5 audio/video codec support. It only allows access to basic free and non-proprietary codecs like Theora, Opus, WebM, Vorbis, VP8, VP9, WAV etc. In contrast, chrome allows you a much broader access to media content and freely supports a number of free as well as non-free stuff like AAC, H.264, MP3, etc.

  • Security Sandbox

Touted as one of the best features of these browsers, the security sandbox feature is enabled by default and functional for both the browsers. However, while it always remains enabled for Chrome, it can be disabled by some Linux distributions.

  • Non-optional Tracking

A randomly generated token is embedded inside the Google Chrome installer that is dispatched to Google post installation to give it the measure of success rate. An RLZ identifier is also present which tracks any user’s search using the address bar. Without including any personal information, its store’s information like installation week, the source of chrome installation etc as encoded strings. Google uses this information to gauge the effectiveness of a promotional campaign. This RLZ identifier is absent if you download Chrome from Google’s website. These no-optional tracking tools are again absent in Chromium.

  •  Adobe Flash Plug-In

This difference no longer holds water because Adobe Flash is gradually being eliminated to give way to the latest HTML5. Google Chrome works exceptionally well with the Pepper API version of Adobe Flash. This even gets updated automatically with the Chrome updates. This feature is not supported by Chromium as it is not an open-source feature.  Chromium also lacks the built-in PDF reader which is present in Chrome.

Bottom Line:

With the subtle differences now up to your fingertips, you can easily make the right choice. For most users, the surface value of both browsers makes Google Chrome, a more sensible choice. Designed for everyday use, it is your ultimate choice if you desire to browse without any riddling by bugs. However, if you want to take advantage of various open source programming features, then nothing works better for you than Chromium.

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