Chromium is an open-sourced web browser, primarily backed by Google. Chromium should not be confused with Google’s main web browser, Chrome. While they look very similar, under the hood there are some key differences that distinguish them. This article aims to highlight Chromium exactly, and if it is something you should use as your main browser.
Being open-source, the actual code for the Chromium project is easily viewable at the project’s GitHub repository. What this means is that the community is able to view and review code, suggest changes, and ultimately branch the code. For example, if you for whatever reason wanted to make and design your own browser, you are free to use Chromium to get started.
This is in comparison to Google Chrome, which although based off Chromium itself, is completely closed to Google.
Chromium is great for those who like the look and feel of Chrome, but are perhaps looking for something a little less bloated. Think of Chromium as a stripped back version of Google Chrome.
It should be noted though that Chromium is not the browser to run if you are looking to De-Google. Chromium still has many references to Google, including the ability to sign into your Google Account straight from the browser. For privacy focused people, Chromium is not for you.
Chromium is Everywhere
You are likely already using Chromium and you may not even know it! Chromium source code forms the basis of many of today’s most popular browsers, including;
- Microsoft Edge
..and a bunch more!
This is a very positive sign that the Chromium source code is stable and trusted. Chromium is under constant development. This means the creators of the other browsers listed above can concentrate on adding their own features, as opposed to having to continue development on the core browser code. This is one of the reasons Microsoft moved it’s Edge browser from it’s own code, to Chromium.
This is also the beauty of open source. Developers from Brave, Microsoft and Opera, all have a vested interest in making Chromium safe, secure and fast.
Plugins & Extensions.
Chromium does not have it’s own plugin and extensions store, however like all the other Chromium based browsers, you are free to use any plugin from the Chrome Web Store.
This means switching to Chromium is pretty easy. You can continue to use your favorite plugins and extensions without worrying about compatibility issues.
We of course recommend extensions and plugins that see solid and continuous development. Plugins can have security issues, so always make sure you are only running plugins that you use and make sure they are updated.
It Doesn’t Auto Update
What a lot of people may not know, is that Chromium does not auto-update. As outlined on the Chromium website, the browser should be used for testing and development. Although it is safe to use it as your main browser, you have to ensure you manually update the browser every so often. The security risks of not doing so may see your browser or machine compromised by malicious code and exploits. Be aware!