Free open-source browser
Chromium is an open-source browser for the web, developed by Google, and used as a base for Chrome, their flagship browser. This software is incorporated into Chrome and is Google’s open-source project since 2008. Its source code is available for free and combines into the code for a web browser. The Chromium Project maintains the open-course code for the program, while the code for Chrome is maintained by Google.
What purpose does Chromium serve?
The Chromium project is an ongoing project, which aims to constantly improve how one browses the web. The project is made to create better, innovative, and disruptive ways to improve internet browsing, and with constant additions and amendments to the code, Google and The Chromium Project gain insights into the browsing needs and preferences of internet users.
While the app is not Google-branded, it is still Google-centric, with the learnings used to improve and adapt Chrome. It comprises the same sync functions as Chrome and uses the Google Account to enter the registered space. The Google Account gives you access to different protected portions of the web browser, and thus adds to the data that is gathered by Google itself. The Chromium Project is basically a learning tool, that constantly helps improve how people browse the web.
As compared to Chrome, Google used a simple and minimalistic user-interface for Chromium, making the perception of the browser to be lightweight and quick.
What are the key differences between Chromium and Chome?
Chromium is used as a base for Chrome. However, the latter does have some extra features that are not available on the former. Some features that are only available on Chrome are auto-update capability, integrated Adobe Flash Player (not supported by Chromium), API keys for some Google Services, licensed codecs from 3rd party players, some audio formats that are only compatible with Chromium, and a number of tracking mechanisms and crash reports, which helps Google collect data to what errors can be created.
While this is not commonly known, Windows and Mac users actually also download an extra background app, which keeps Chrome updated, and on Linux, this function is done by the system management tools. No just background support is provided with Chromium and there are no automatic updates either.
Some of the features that exist on Chromium, but not on Chrome, are extensions. Chrome is restricted from using any extension that is not available on the Chrome Web Store, however, the open-sourced browser is able to use those 3rd party extensions as well.
Chromium feeds Chrome with a large repository of source data and code, that is developed by anyone working on The Chromium Project. This includes the user interface, rendering of Blink, etc. It is an open-source program, unlike Chrome, which also uses the Google color scheme and branding. Chrome’s binaries are license under the Google Chrome Terms of Service, and these restrictions do not exist under Chromium.
How can one get involved with The Chromium Project?
The whole purpose of The Chromium Project is to build a community and a repository of information, insights, suggestions, and analysis from users. One can be involved with the development of the browser by first joining some developer discussion group, visiting the Help Centre to answer user queries, and by helping with the testing of various features. One and get on the Beta or Dev channel, and delve into the latest version or build of the browser.
Through the forums and community discussions, one can report files and triage bugs, making the error reports more useful. To get even more deeply involved, one can even apply for a Chromium developer account. But to be approved to have an account, one needs to first become a Committer. Submitting a number of patches and being involved with bug fixes lets you become a committer, giving you more access to the app's development process and team.
One can also simply extract the browser's code, debug and run it, without being involved with the community as such. A developer is also able to report a bug directly through the app's website and forums. There is plenty of literature available for the Chromium code and reporting a bug.
Who should be using Chromium?
Chromium can be used by anyone looking for a light-weight, minimalistic web browser which does not have too many frills, and a simple interface, directed at performing the basic features. Because the app doesn’t support Flash, a lot of the in-built flash features are not available on it. Having said that, most common users would rather just use Chrome, as it gives them an overall better user experience, is easy to navigate through, has an attractive UI, is pre-set in Android or many personal computers, and is simply widely used across the board.
For developers specifically, who would like to tinker and work on the browser's open-source code, and study the code for bug fixes and analysis, Chromium is a good app to use. Aimed at building a developer community to improve the overall web browsing experience for internet users, the app is a great platform to interact with other developers, understand the bug fixes and study the code that is the base of not just Google Chrome but also other similar programs like Opera and Microsoft Edge.
What’s the final word on Chromium?
Chromium is a unique, open-source browser by Google, running independently as The Chromium Project, building a repository of knowledge-based code, which forms the base of Google Chrome, as well as Microsoft Edge and Opera. The project is a gold-mine for developers, as there is a community to get involved with and so much to learn from the discussion and solutions provided by the developers. One also has the possibility of getting involved even deeper into the app's source code, and the process of fixing bugs. Overall, the software does not replace or compare to Chrome, but for an entirely different function of source code analysis.