Are you considering whether to use Chromium or Chrome web browser? The answer depends on your needs and requirements.
For instance, if you follow a Puppeteer tutorial for web scraping, it doesn’t matter if you use Chrome or Chromium. However, some differences between the two can point you in the right direction, helping you understand the scenarios that require a specific browser.
How do you know which one to use then? That’s a decision you’ll have to make on your own, but with access to the correct information, you can easily make the right choice. That is why we bring you the main similarities and differences between Chromium and Chrome.
Table of Contents
Introduction to Chromium
Chromium is an open-source project. The Chromium Projects takes all the credits for developing it, and the same company also maintains it. Being an open-source web browser means anyone can use its code and modify it as they please.
However, it doesn’t mean that they can contribute the code to the Chromium project. The Chromium Projects has complete control over the users from the development community who can contribute the code to Chromium.
Basics of Chrome
Unlike Chromium, Chrome is a proprietary web browser. Google has developed it and continues to maintain it to this very day. Proprietary means that you can’t use the Chrome code for your projects, nor can you reverse-engineer or decompile it.
Google used Chromium source code to build Chrome. Its developers wrote the proprietary code in-house and created one of the most popular web browsers today – Google Chrome.
How they are different
The first key difference is that Chrome is a proprietary web browser software and Chromium is open-source. You can’t change Chrome’s code while you can do whatever you want with Chromium.
As for codec support, Chromium only supports free codecs, such as Theora, Opus, WAV, VP8, VP9, and Vorbis. In addition to these, Chrome also supports licensed media codes, such as H.264, AA, and MP3.
Chromium doesn’t have a built-in PDF viewer and a print preview, while Chrome has those features. The auto-update option also remains reserved for Chrome users only.
When it comes to privacy, it’s important to note that Chromium doesn’t collect or send usage statistics and crash reports. On the other hand, Chrome gathers user data and sends it to Google.
Security is tight for both browsers. However, since it lacks automatic updates, Chromium users may be more exposed to various cyber threats.
Furthermore, Chrome users can only add extensions from the Web Store, while Chromium users can upload and add any browser extension.
How they are similar
Chromium and Chrome share the same code to some extent. They are both incredibly fast, secure, reliable, and support free media codecs. The only different part is the one that Google’s team has coded.
Additionally, they are available on the same platforms. You can run both Chrome and Chromium on your PC, whether you run Windows or Linux, or you can install them on your smartphone.
Finally, both Chromium and Chrome have headless versions. A headless version of a web browser is simply a version with no graphical user interface (GUI). Headless Chromium and Chrome are popularly used server-side browsers.
You can automate use cases with a command-line interface. They even have a dedicated Node.js library called Puppeteer. You can read a Puppeteer tutorial to understand how to use it for web scraping purposes. Oxylabs wrote a blog post on the topic.
Different use cases
Chrome is one of the most popular end-user web browsers in the world. While it also has a headless version such as Chromium, it’s still a proprietary browser. That’s why Chromium has more use cases.
Users can modify the Chromium code to achieve specific results and custom-tailor the browser to meet particular project requirements.
Pros and cons
Both Chromium and Chrome have their upsides and downsides. Let’s quickly go through both web browsers’ most essential pros and cons.
- Open-source, allowing you to modify the code to meet your specific needs
- More regularly updated than Chrome
- It doesn’t track or send user history and browsing data
- Cleaner browsing experience
- No built-in support for PDF files
- Users need to download and manually install new versions
- Increased stability
- Better support for media codecs
- Built-in PDF file viewer
- Automatic updates
- Tracks and sends user history and browsing data
- Users can only add extensions from the official web store
While Chromium and Chrome share the same code base, they are essentially two different browsers. Chromium is open-source, while Chrome is proprietary software. Since you can change the code of Chromium, it potentially has more use cases than Chrome. Both browsers support the Puppeteer library in terms of web scraping capabilities, as you can see in any available Puppeteer tutorial.