Having the names of Google Chrome and Chromium together can create confusion, as it’s easy to mix up between them.

The truth is, once you know their differences, the confusion won’t linger.

Google Chrome is a web browser, while Chromium is a niche open-source browser. Chromium can be used as a browser and a base code for building different browsers from it. 

Chromium has fewer users and features than Google Chrome but shares the same source code as Google Chrome.

Both Chrome and Chromium are products created by Google, so you can be assured both of them do a great job in what they offer.

In this post, we’ll go over the differences between the two, so you can decide which one you want to use.

Introduction to Google Chrome

Released in 2008, Google chrome is one of the most preferred web browsers. It’s developed and maintained by Google for multiple devices and platforms, and It’s free to use for anybody out there. 

chrome

Google Chrome is built on Chromium, which means it uses the base code of Chromium to function, but it comes along with its independent features as well.

One of the things to note here is that since Chrome is a proprietary browser, it does not have an open code and hence, does not permit anyone to decompile, copy or reverse engineer its existing code.

Moreover, you cannot develop any other browsers on Google Chrome’s code. On the bright side, even though there are cons to this browser, the pros outweigh them. Let’s dive into them a little more.

Pros and Cons of Google Chrome

Here’s a table that illustrates some of the pros and cons of this browser.

ProsCons
Google Chrome is free to use.It doesn’t allow rewriting, reverse engineering, or modifying the code.
It can auto-update itself, and no manual intervention is required.It does not support any extensions that are outside of the Chrome Web Store.
Includes built-in support for media codecs and Adobe Flash.It tracks user history and data. This information is then stored on Google servers.
It has an intuitive and easy-to-use interface.It can be heavy on your system, especially if several tabs are open.
Multiple extensions can be installed and used simultaneously for various purposes. 
It allows incognito mode browsing if you want to hide your internet history. 
It has cross-platform and device support. 

Downloading Google Chrome

Downloading Google Chrome is no rocket science and can be done in 3 simple steps.

Step 1: Open your browser and go to “google.com/chrome“.

Step 2: Click the download button to download it as per your Windows/Mac version. 

download-chrome

Step 3: Locate the file in your system and initiate the installation steps. 

Voila, you can now use the browser on your computer. It can also be downloaded on other devices, such as Android and iOS smartphones.

Now that you have a fair idea about Google Chrome, let’s understand Chromium. 

Introduction to Chromium

In 2008, Google released another browser along with Chrome, the Chromium Project. You must have come across a logo similar to Google Chrome but in blue color. Yes, that’s Chromium.

chromiumss

In terms of look, feel and interface, it’s very similar to Google Chrome. Despite the similarities, it has features that set it apart from Chrome.

Chromium is an open-source and free web browser that allows you to modify the code to extend functionalities per your needs. This can be done seamlessly via the Google Developer community only by developers.

Since this is an open-source browser, other browsers can also be built using Chromium as its base code. For example, Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge are two browsers created using the Chromium code.

In addition, many applications also use the chromium source code in their frameworks. 

Pros and Cons of Chromium

Here’s a table that illustrates some of the pros and cons of this browser.

ProsCons
As Chromium is an open-source browser, it has frequent updates and improvements for an enhanced user experience.The updates have to be initiated manually.
It does not keep track of your browser data.It does not have built-in support for media codecs and Adobe Flash.
It does not restrict the users to use extensions from Chrome Web Store only.The security sandbox mode is disabled.
It allows you to build other browsers and applications using its code. 
Anybody from the developer community can rewrite its code to enrich its features and functions. 

Downloading Chromium

There are several ways to download Chromium, and while most of them can be complicated, we’ll go over the most convenient method here. You have to follow just 3 simple steps to download it.

Step 1: Go to the download page of Chromium. It’ll automatically detect your device and operating system.

Step 2: Click on the Download Chromium button at the center.

download-chromium

Step 3: Unpack the zip file and complete the installation to start using it.

You can now browse the internet, play with the code and do some cool stuff if you’re into developing things.

What are Chromium-based browsers?

As discussed earlier, Chromium is used as a base code to derive and build many applications and browsers. All of the browsers that use Chromium can be called Chromium-based browsers. They are evolved and advanced and come with features of their own.

Popular Chromium-based browsers

In this section, let’s go over some of the most popular Chromium-based browsers out there apart from Google Chrome.

#1. Microsoft Edge

edge

Perhaps one of the most popular and recent browsers made from Chromium is our very own Microsoft Edge. If you’re a Microsoft user, you’re in for a treat because this browser comes with privacy patches and features that do not allow other websites to collect your browsing data. 

It is also built to protect you from phishing, malware, and files that contain viruses. This feature is known as Microsoft Defender Smart Screen.

The browser is integrated with MS Office 365 to make it easy to collect, share and export data to Word, Excel, and other formats. 

#2. Vivaldi

vivaldi

Slightly lesser-known but as good as Microsoft Edge, the Vivaldi browser comes with a minimalistic interface and offers a great user experience. It has an amazing in-built feature that changes the browser color scheme based on the last websites you visit.

Alternatively, you can customize the browser according to your preferences, such as theme, background, tab positioning, etc.

Vivaldi even supports some Google Chrome extensions and is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. 

#3. Brave

brave

If you’re looking for a browser that can be used on a computer and your smartphone, then Brave is your answer for the ease of use it offers.

It has a bunch of amazing features, some of which are:

This browser also provides a very smooth browsing experience, so you should check this one out.

Popular Non-Chromium-based browsers

In this section, let’s go over some of the most popular Non-Chromium-based browsers.

#1. Mozilla Firefox

firefox

How can this one not top the list when it comes to popularity? Mozilla Firefox is a veteran and is free to use and download.

Not to mention, it’s fast, has built-in protection, and comes with many add-ons that you can use at your disposal.

#2. GNU IceCat

Made by the idealists, the GNU IceCat browser is free from spyware and does not have pre-built Windows/macOS binaries. As it is made as part of the GNU project, it also comes with free add-ons, plugins, and language packs, which can improve your browsing experience.

#3. Safari

safari

Safari is a very popular browser among Apple device users for various reasons, one of which is its clean user interface. It offers a fast-browsing experience with the topmost security.

As Apple develops it, Safari is quite compatible with all of their devices, be it iPad, iPhone, or Mac.

Pros and Cons of Chromium-based browsers

Browsers created with the codebase of Chromium perform very well, but it also has its disadvantages that are important to address. Here are some of the pros and cons of Chromium-based browsers:

ProsCons
It has a great reputation, given that it powers the likes of Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge.It uses many system resources and can slow down the computer when the browser runs.
Extensions built for Google Chrome will also work on other Chromium browsers. Not all Chromium-based browsers are well-equipped with the essential features, apart from Google Chrome.
Browsers built with Chromium have a minimal, clean, and easy-to-use interface.
Most browsers provide high-level protection.

It’s important to note that the above pros and cons differ from browser to browser.

Google Chrome vs. Chromium

It’s time to go over some of the major differences between Google Chrome and Chromium head-to-head. Let’s compare and find out how they stand against each other.

#1. Privacy

As Chromium is an open-source project and can be edited by developers, the browser is designed not to transfer any user data or browsing behavior to any of the servers.

On the other hand, Google Chrome’s spiders are constantly tracking, analyzing, transferring, and storing data in Google servers.

Also read: Web Browser Alternatives to Chrome for Better Privacy

This means Chromium offers a much safer space for users to exercise their online activity when you compare the two.

#2. Features

Google Chrome comes with a universe of additional features and integrations, some of which are:

  • Google Forms
  • Spreadsheets
  • Google Drive
  • User Profiles
  • Cross-device synchronization

These features are proprietary with their rights and DRM elements for copyrighted content. 

On the other hand, Chromium has no additional features, but the developers are always free to rewrite them as per their requirements.

You could say the Chromium browser wouldn’t be much of a convenience for an average person unless the browser is re-developed into something new.

#3. Tools Support

Google Chrome supports extensions in its browser, but you cannot use extensions that fall outside the purview of Chrome Web Store.

tools

However, to make up for it, it allows you to access a number of tools, such as:

  • Google Docs
  • Gmail
  • Google Pay
  • Google Translate
  • Chromecast
  • Color Picker

Chromium allows third-party extensions but doesn’t have the above built-in tools like Google Chrome.

#4. License

Chromium includes only these free and basic licenses:

  • Theora
  • WAV
  • Opus
  • VP8
  • VP9
  • Vorbis

While Google Chrome includes basic licenses, as well as the following ones:

  • AAC
  • H.264
  • MP3

Since Chromium doesn’t support licensed codecs like Chrome, you won’t be able to play media in it. This means to stream video from sites like Netflix and YouTube; you’d have to install the codecs manually.

#5. Update Process

Chrome automatically updates the security patches as and when they come, while the process must be done manually in Chromium.

#6. Security

When it comes to Chromium, the sandbox feature is not enabled in many cases, while Google Chrome has the feature on by default. Both browsers get timely security patches, which is great news.

Since they both share the same code, there aren’t many differences in security. One thing that remains constant is that you’d have to download the security patches manually on Chromium, while on Chrome, it gets updated automatically.

#7. Plugins

Google Chrome supports Adobe Flash Player, while Chromium does not. However, one of the areas where Chromium gets ahead of Chrome is that it allows extensions to be installed from outside of the Chrome Web Store.

Sure, Google Chrome might already support all the essential extensions that you might need, but if a need arises for an extension that is not available on the Chrome Web Store, you won’t be able to use it.

This is where Chromium edges past Chrome a little bit.

#8. Restrictions

Chromium is much more flexible if you see it from a developer’s point of view. It allows you to alter the functionalities as per your need and introduce features of your will – that is, only if you know how to code.

Google Chrome does have a lot of impressive built-in features, but it lacks flexibility. It also has restrictions, such as no warning before accidentally closing the window with several open tabs.

Another restriction is that it doesn’t sync across apps and devices. Browsers like Mozilla Firefox have the capability of syncing with multiple computers with the help of Mozilla Weave.

Final Words

While both Google Chrome and Chromium might seem similar, you’ll notice they’re quite different in nature if you dig deeper. Both of them serve users for different purposes, so according to your requirement, you can easily choose which one you wish to use.

Google Chrome is great for a regular, average user, while Chromium is more suitable for advanced users who’re well-versed in coding and prefer more privacy.

Next, you can check out how to test your browser security for vulnerabilities.