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What’s The Difference Between Chromium And Chrome? (2020)

Chrome and Chromium are more than two similar names. Although almost everyone knows Chrome, very few know Chromium.

There are still a majority of people wondering between the differences, the pros & cons, and which one is the right browser for them. Often, the situation is straightforward.

Why? Because Chrome is the king in the world of browsers and 65.47% of users worldwide use Google Chrome.

It’s a Google product, in-built with most Android phones, and carries the sync features. The share of Chromium in the market is in fractions.

what’s the difference between chromium and chrome

What is Chromium?

The Chromium Project was initiated in 2008 by Google when a large part of Chrome’s source code was released for review of underlying code for the use of developers. It allowed the browser Chrome to be ported to Mac and Linux.

This gave rise to Chromium browser along with the set of source codes that lends its voice to other browsers like Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and Opera.

Chromium is an open-source browser. It provides you with the freedom to build upon those source codes, modify them, run scripts, etc. You may also get involved as a developer and/or debug on various platforms.

Chromium can be downloaded from Chromium Download Link. The download page will more likely than not detect the OS and get you to the correct build of Chromium. If not, you can select your OS and architecture from the dropdown and select the correct version.

It is an easier process to download on Linux by visiting the software repository of your Linux OS distributor’s. Ubuntu Software Center is the one for Ubuntu Linux and you can search for Chromium to download.

What is Chrome?

Google Chrome is the web browser with the largest market share in the world. It is Google’s browser and made an entry in 2008. When the Chromium source code was released, it was released as a part of the release of Google Chrome.

While Chromium became part of the Chromium Project (which is now also having Chromium OS), Google Chrome continued to be developed by Google to take it to the world leader position.

Google Chrome can be downloaded from Google Chrome’s Download Page on its website. It is a very simple installation process.

The Logos

Google Chrome and Chromium have virtually the same logo. Both of them appear like a wheel in motion, with three spikes around a circular center. The difference is that Chromium’s logo is blue-toned with different shades of blue everywhere except in between the concentric circles at the center, which is white. 

Google Chrome is more colorful, with only the white portion being the same. The center is blue, but has more saturation. The three spikes around are red, yellow, and green. This is the primary way of differentiating between the two browsers.

What’s The Difference Between Chromium And Chrome?

The Major Talking Points


Security is one of the highest talking points in the world of the internet, especially when concerned with an open-source application. On paper, Google Chrome and Chromium should be at the same level of security.

Or rather, because Chrome is based on Chromium, Chromium security updates should come much earlier. However, it isn’t so. Google Chrome has automatic update options while Chromium has no such option. Installing updates on Chromium is a challenge because you have to do it manually.

As it is an open source, it is prone to the wrong set of people using it as malware. So, you have to verify the updates before installing them. Yet, updates are more frequent for Chromium.


Chrome is a final refined version while Chromium is the raw version. Stability isn't a feature of Chromium. It is prone to bugs and crashes because it is always in the development mode. Also, it doesn’t have a crash reporting feature.
Chrome has a crash reporting feature, which is turned off by default. Also, it is less likely to have bugs because Google Chrome is the final version.

Google Chrome’s Canary channel is where unstable versions can make way. Canary builds, as per Google on its website, are the untested and unused version of Chrome. These are made available as soon as they are ready.

Canary versions carry all the features of Chrome including ones that will come in future stable versions but have been released in the Canary version currently.

Here is a link to download Google Chrome’s Canary Version.

User Data Tracking

Google Chrome tracks user data including device, OS, Chrome settings, website history, malware-infected website history, search queries, shopping history, etc.
You can choose not to do so by using incognito mode. Chromium sends no data to the developers, unlike Chrome. The data Chrome sends, in turn, is used to improve your search results, your shopping results, ads, suggestions, etc.

Chrome Web Store vs Other Extensions

Google Chrome allows only extensions from the Chrome Web Store to be installed.

To enable other extension’s installation, there is a developer mode. However, it is strictly for the coders. For most users, the only extensions available are via Chrome Web Store. Chromium has no limitations in this regard. Even the extensions from Chrome Web Store can be installed on Chromium.

Adobe Flash Plugin

Chromium doesn’t have any plugin and codec support except for a few open source codecs. While Adobe Flash Plugin comes automatically installed within Google Chrome, Chromium is devoid of any such plugin. It can be downloaded via the website and installed.

However, you will need to update it manually every time there’s an update available. In Chrome, the updates are automatic. In Linux OS, sometimes the only source of Flash plugin usage is via Google Chrome.

While Flash isn’t as widely used as earlier, still plenty of websites use Flash and the plugin can be handy.

Media Codec Support

Non-proprietary codecs like Theora, Opus, Vorbis, VP8, VP9, and WAV are supported by default in Chromium. This means that Netflix cannot be played automatically on a Chromium browser. It is also not straight-forward to install media codecs in Chromium.

Google Chrome comes with the support for various additional audio and video codecs like AAC, H.264, and MP3.

Apart from this, Google Chrome has been pushing Google’s codec WEBM. Youtube, Netflix, and other web-streaming websites can be played effortlessly on Google Chrome and may have issues on Chromium.


Sandbox is one of the finest features of Google Chrome and is also present in Chromium. It is always on by default in Chrome. In Chromium, it depends on the distribution. You can easily check to confirm settings in About > Sandbox to confirm if it is switched on or off.

Chromium and Chrome Sync Features

Google Chrome has a sync feature that syncs all browsing history, bookmarks, passwords, and other browsing data including the last search across devices. Once you sign in with your Google account, you can access all these features on any device.

Chromium is not managed by Google, but retains the sync features of Chrome. This means that Chromium will also sync your settings and data. Chromium can also sync your data from Chrome.

Using Both the Browsers

It is possible to install Google Chrome and Chromium on the same device and use them independently. There’s no technical issue because these two operate as separate browsers. It is understood that an advanced user will want Chromium as a browser for testing codes, debugging, etc.

However, the ease of Chrome may be another requirement, like while watching Netflix, or while simply browsing through the internet or loading flash-based websites. There’s a development mode and canary channel of Google Chrome, but coders mainly prefer Chromium.

Other Browsers that are Based on Chromium’s Source Code

Many of the browsers are based on Chromium’s source code. Recently, even Microsoft removed Chromium from Microsoft Edge browser and plans to update Edge and similar browsers on all OS including Windows 7.

Some of these browsers have been developed using the same source code that makes Chrome a champion browser.
  • Opera: This browser has been making progress with a decent market share. Currently, it holds a market share of 1.27% and is considered especially by those running slow systems. Opera is lighter and faster on machines that aren’t as conducive. It is based on Blink, a Chromium-based engine, after it dropped Presto. It’s available for Windows, Mac, and Linux OS.
  • Yandex: Yandex accounts for about 0.9% of the market share and is based on Blink, like Opera. It is a Russian browser and available for Windows and Mac OS.
  • Vivaldi: Vivaldi was built by a team that involved plenty of former Opera engineers. The idea of Vivaldi comes as a throwback to the non-minimalistic era of web browsers.
  • Edge: In 2018, Microsoft revamped its Edge browser. The Chromium-created Blink and V8 replaced the legacy Microsoft-sourced rendering and Javascript engines. Microsoft also pointed out its contribution to the Chromium Project and how it will continue to do so while stating the benefits and releasing the new Edge.

Is Chromium a Virus?

Chromium is not a virus. Although, there have been instances when Chromium was found to be installed in devices without the knowledge of the user or admin. It is an open-source platform and is used by coders. However, this is one reason why one needs to be careful.

There have been several instances of Chromium being bundled with malware on various installations of the browser. Also, the attack code may be named as Chromium as a coder can write codes in the script.

What if you find Malware?

Anti-malware needs to be used to scan and delete or quarantine the malware. Thereby, Chromium needs to be removed.

 In Windows, you can do so in ‘Add or Remove Programs’ in Settings/Control Panel (depending on the version). In Mac OS, you need to go to Finder, locate Chromium, and ‘move to trash’ on right-click. Empty trash thereafter (making sure there’s nothing important in it).

The Choice of Browser?

For most users, Google Chrome will be a matter of choice because of its versatility in handling media files as well as in-built flash, updates, and stability.

For coders, it will be Chromium due to the ability to code, test, debug, etc. For advanced users, and for most of the people, there’s no harm in installing both the browsers on the system if you think there’s ever going to be a requirement for Chromium. If not, stick with Google Chrome browser.


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About the Author

Piyush Kashyap is a Ph.D student at Sant Longowal Institute of Engineering and Technology, Sangrur. He is a budding editor/ writer and has been working as a part-time reviewer for online content. He loves to read tech-based articles and has a knack for reviewing such articles He likes to stay updated about the latest trends in technology. He has also been working as a reviewer for many scientific journals. He also writes articles based on science. Know More About Piyush

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