What is the difference between Chrome and Chromium?

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We keep hearing about all these different versions of Chrome, which can be confusing for the general consumer. Which one to pick? Last week we told you the differences between Chrome Channels (Stable, Beta and Dev), but there is another version that is much more different – Chromium.

Popular Googler François Beaufort is back this week with another video discussion, in which he compares Chromium to the Google Chrome browser. It’s important to compare it to Chrome in general, because Chromium is not really another version within Chrome. It’s a separate browser, intended for different purposes.

What is the difference between Chromium and Chrome?

Chromium is an open-sourced project that includes 3 parts: the browser, Blink and Chrome OS. Chromium is great for developers and those who like experimenting with Chrome-related features. Chromium is updated daily, which is a big deal. There are some things to keep in mind, though.

Google-Chrome-Chromium-iconBecause of its nature and licensing differences, Chromium doesn’t operate the same as its consumer-ready counter parts. Chromium doesn’t have Adobe Flash and PDF embedded, for example. This functionality has to be added in the form of plugins.

In addition Chromium is not updated automatically. You will have to update it manually whenever you wish to get the latest version of Chromium. The lack of said features may make Chromium sound inferior, but this open-source project is not really meant to be consumer-friendly. Many users claim it’s more private, though, which you may love.

The discussion

In the video above, François Beaufort goes through all the main differences between Chromium and Chrome OS. From the logo to the features, he does a very good job at letting the user know what these are both all about.

He also mentions Chrome Canary as a good alternative for those who want a simpler experimental way of testing Chrome’s new features. Check out the video and let us know what you think! Are you using Chromium? If so, what are your reasons?



  • Ross

    From what I can tell, Chromium is only available on Linux (and maybe BSD?). Chrome is available on many platforms,

  • atomic1fire

    Not quite.

    Chromium is availible on linux primarily because package managers distribute it.

    Edit: that’s probably for licensing reasons, they can’t use the google name so they use the open source project instead. Also because they can’t share all the source code with chrome, but they can with chromium.

    You could compile chromium on any OS that has the dependencies for it.

    Build.chromium.org offers binaries for all the OS’s google supports, and I think Continuous is the branch that is most stable? You could probably find windows binaries there, just look for the revision folder that has the biggest number for most recent release probably. Use the mini installer if you want to install it automatically. Looks like 255693 is the most recent stable version of chromium, which is basically chrome 35 minus branding, support, statistics tracking and plugins.

    That said you probably shouldn’t use chromium unless you can find someone to support it for you. With Linux that’s probably the package maintainers, with windows you’d have to create an issue and maybe they’ll eventually fix it.

    All the official customer support probably belongs with google chrome, as chromium is intended for developers and testers.