Google Chrome is a web browser developed and maintained by tech giant Google. Chrome uses the open source web browser Chromium’s source code and adds a bunch of features developed by Google and some non free components. Otherwise, Chromium is totally an open-source web browser developed and maintained by The Chromium Project and many contributors from the community of open source developers.
Users can differentiate Chrome and Chromium browser by looking at their logo. Google Chrome is colorful, and Chromium is blue. However, that’s not the only difference between Chrome and Chromium.
Other differences between Chrome and Chromium:
1- Automatic Updates
Chrome uses Google Update on Windows (GoogleSoftwareUpdateAgent and GoogleSoftwareUpdateDaemon on Mac) to automatically update to the latest version. It is not available for Chromium. On some Linux distributions, updates are made available via package repositories. Google Update is also used for other applications like Google Earth. Don’t forget to read the difference between Google Earth and Google Maps.
2- Usage tracking and crash reporting
Unlike Chromium, Google has added the crash reporting and send usage statistics options. Chrome sends data to Google servers. It includes general data like information about your device and OS, Chrome settings, visited websites having malware, search queries, etc. This allows Google to throw suggestions, results, and ads that are relevant to you.
Crash reporting and usage tracking can be disabled from Chrome’s settings.
3- Chrome Web Store
On Google Chrome, the functionality to add extensions outside the Chrome Web Store is disabled on all Windows and Mac Channels. However, the extensions can be added via developer mode.
4- Media Codec support
Chromium’s HTML5 audio/video codec support is limited to what is available as non-proprietary codecs like Theora, Vorbis, WebM, VP9, etc. In the case of Chrome, it adds support for some non-free stuff like AAC, MP3, and H.264 (now free).
5- Non-optional tracking
Google Chrome installer includes a randomly generated token. The token is sent to Google after the installation completes in order to measure the success rate.
Google also uses the RLZ identifier to track a user on Google Search and while using the address bar. The RLZ identifier stores information – in the form of encoded strings – like the source of chrome download and installation week. It doesn’t include any personal information, and it’s used to measure the effectiveness of a promotional campaign. Chrome downloaded from Google’s website doesn’t have the RLZ identifier. The source code to decode the strings is made open by Google.
Both Chrome and Chromium browser have Sandbox support. It is always enabled in the case of Google Chrome. For Chromium, some Linux distributions may disable the Sandbox feature.