Chromium (web browser)
|Initial release||2 September 2008|
|Operating system||Windows, Linux, Android, iOS, macOS, BSDs|
|Platform||IA-32, x86-64, ARM, ARM64|
|License||BSD-3 and others|
Chromium is a free and open-source web browser project, mainly developed and maintained by Google. This codebase provides the vast majority of code for the Google Chrome browser, which is proprietary software and has some additional features.
The Chromium codebase is widely used. Microsoft Edge, Samsung Internet, Opera, and many other browsers are based on the Chromium code. Moreover, significant portions of the code are used by several app frameworks.
Google does not provide an official stable version of the Chromium browser, but does provide official API keys for some features, such as speech to text and translation.
Chromium is a free and open-source software project. The Google-authored portion is shared under the 3-clause BSD license. Third party dependencies are subject to a variety of licenses, including MIT, LGPL, Ms-PL, and an MPL/GPL/LGPL tri-license.
This licensing permits any party to build the codebase and share the resulting browser executable with the Chromium name and logo. Thus many Linux distributions do this, as well as FreeBSD and OpenBSD.
Differences from Google Chrome
Chromium lacks the following Chrome features:
- Automatic browser updates
- API keys for some Google services, including browser sync
- The Widevine DRM module
- Licensed codecs for the popular H.264 video and AAC audio formats
- Tracking mechanisms for usage and crash reports
Branding and licensing
While Chrome has the same user interface functionality as Chromium, it changes the color scheme to the Google-branded one. Unlike Chromium, Chrome is not open-source, so its binaries are licensed as freeware under the Google Chrome Terms of Service.
Google refers to this project and the offshoot Chromium OS as "the Chromium projects", and its employees use @chromium.org email addresses for this development work. However, in terms of governance, the Chromium projects are not independent entities; Google retains firm control of them.
The Chromium browser codebase is widely used, so others have made important contributions, most notably Microsoft, Igalia, Yandex, Intel, Samsung, LG, Opera, and Brave. Some employees of these companies also have @chromium.org email addresses.
C++ is the primary language, comprising about half of the codebase. This includes the Blink and V8 engines, the implementation of HTTP and other protocols, the internal caching system, and other essential browser components.
Builds are identified by a four-part version number that is major.minor.build.patch. This versioning scheme and the branch points that occur every six to seven weeks are from Google Chrome and its development cycle.
2008 to 2010
Upon release, Chrome was criticized for storing a user's passwords without the protection of a master password. Google has insisted that a master password provides no real security against knowledgeable hackers, but users argued that it would protect against co-workers or family members borrowing a computer and being able to view stored passwords as plaintext. In December 2009, Chromium developer P. Kasting stated: "A master password was issue 1397. That issue is closed. We will not implement a master password. Not now, not ever. Arguing for it won't make it happen. 'A bunch of people would like it' won't make it happen. Our design decisions are not democratic. You cannot always have what you want."
Version 6 introduced features for user interface minimalism, as one of Google's goals was to make the browser "feel lightweight (cognitively and physically) and fast". The changes were a unified tools menu, no home button by default (although user configurable), a combined reload/stop button, and the bookmark bar deactivated by default. It also introduced an integrated PDF reader, WebM and VP8 support for use with HTML5 video, and a smarter URL bar.
Version 8 focused on improved integration into Chrome OS and improved cloud features. These include background web applications, host remoting (allowing users centrally to control features and settings on other computers) and cloud printing.
Version 9 introduced a URL bar feature for exposing phishing attacks, plus sandboxing for the Adobe Flash plug-in. Other additions were the WebGL library and access for the new Chrome Web Store.
In February, Google announced that it was considering large-scale user interface (UI) changes, including at least partial elimination of the URL bar, which had been a mainstay of browsers since the early years of the Web. The proposed UI was to be a consolidation of the row of tabs and the row of navigation buttons, the menu, and URL bar into a single row. The justification was freeing up more screen space for web page content. Google acknowledged that this would result in URLs not always being visible to the user, that navigation controls and menus may lose their context, and that the resulting single line could be quite crowded. However, by August, Google decided that these changes were too risky and shelved the idea.
In March, Google announced other directions for the project. Development priorities focused on reducing the size of the executable, integrating web applications and plug-ins, cloud computing, and touch interface support. Thus a multi-profile button was introduced to the UI, allowing users to log into multiple Google and other accounts in the same browser instance. Other additions were malware detection and support for hardware-accelerated CSS transforms.
By May, the results of Google's attempts to reduce the file size of Chromium were already being noted. Much of the early work in this area concentrated on shrinking the size of WebKit, the image resizer, and the Android build system. Subsequent work introduced a more compact mobile version that reduced the vertical space of the UI.
Other changes in 2011 were GPU acceleration on all pages, adding support for the new Web Audio API, and the Google Native Client (NaCl) which permits native code supplied by third parties as platform-neutral binaries to be securely executed within the browser itself. Google's Skia graphics library was also made available for all Chromium versions.
The sync service added for Google Chrome in 2012 could also be used by Chromium builds. The same year, a new API for high-quality video and audio communication was added, enabling web applications to access the user's webcam and microphone after asking permission to do so. Then GPU accelerated video decoding for Windows and support for the QUIC protocol were added.
Other changes in 2013 were the ability to reset user profiles and new browser extension APIs. Tab indicators for audio and webcam usage were also added, as was automatic blocking of files detected as malware.
Browsers based on Chromium
In addition to Google Chrome, many other notable web browsers have been based on the Chromium code.
- Amazon Silk
- Avast Secure Browser developed by Avast
- Blisk is a browser available for Windows 7 and later, OS X 10.9 and later that aims to provide an array of useful tools for Web development.
- Brave is an open-source web browser that aims to block website trackers and remove intrusive internet advertisements.
- CodeWeavers CrossOver Chromium is an unofficial bundle of a Wine derivative and Chromium Developer Build 21 for Linux and macOS, first released on 15 September 2008 by CodeWeavers as part of their CrossOver project.
- Comodo Dragon is a rebranded version of Chromium for 32-bit Windows 8.1, 8, Windows 7 and Vista produced by the Comodo Group. According to the developer, it provides improved security and privacy features.
- Cốc Cốc is a freeware web browser focused on the Vietnamese market, developed by Vietnamese company Cốc Cốc, based on Chromium open-source code for Windows. According to data published by StatCounter in July 2013, Cốc Cốc has passed Opera to become one of the top 5 most popular browsers in Vietnam within 2 months after its official release.
- Dissenter is a fork of Brave browser that adds a comment section to any URL.
- Epic Browser is a privacy-centric web browser developed by Hidden Reflex of India and based on Chromium source code.
- Falkon an open-source Qt-based GUI, using the Chromium-based QtWebEngine.
- qutebrowser a Qt-based GUI with Vim-like keybindings, using the Chromium-based QtWebEngine.
- Microsoft Edge is Chromium-based as of 15 January 2020.
- Naver Whale is a South Korean freeware web browser developed by Naver Corporation, which is also available in English. It became available on Android on 13 April 2018.
- Opera began to base its web browser on Chromium with version 15.
- Qihoo 360 Secure Browser is a Chromium-based Chinese web browser developed by Qihoo.
- Samsung Internet shipped its first Chromium-based browser in a Galaxy S4 model released in 2013.
- Sleipnir is a Chromium derivative browser for Windows and macOS. One of its main features is linking to Web apps (Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox, etc.) and smartphone apps (Google Map, etc.). It also boasts what it calls "beautiful text," and has unique graphical tabs, among other features.
- Slimjet: A Chromium-based web browser released by FlashPeak that features built-in webpage translation, PDF viewing capability and a PPAPI flash plugin, features usually missing from Chromium-based browsers currently not supported.
- SRWare Iron is a freeware release of Chromium for Windows, macOS and Linux, offering both installable and portable versions. Iron disables certain configurable Chromium features that could share information with third parties and additional tracking features that Google adds to its Chrome browser.
- ungoogled-chromium is a privacy-focused browser based on Chromium. Initially developed for Linux, versions for Windows and MacOS were later added. It removes all Google services and analytics built into Chromium.
- Vivaldi is a browser for Windows, macOS and Linux developed by Vivaldi Technologies. Chromium-based Vivaldi aims to revive the rich features of the Presto-era Opera with its own proprietary modifications.
- Yandex Browser is a browser created by the Russian software company Yandex for macOS, Windows, Linux, Android and iOS. The browser integrates Yandex services, which include a search engine, a machine translation service and cloud storage. On Android it provides ability to install chrome extensions on a mobile browser.
- Beaker, a peer-to-peer web browser
- Flock – a browser that specialized in providing social networking and had Web 2.0 facilities built into its user interface. It was based on Chromium starting with version 3.0. Flock was discontinued in April 2011.
- Redcore – a browser developed by Chinese company Redcore Times (Beijing) Technology Ltd. and marketed as a domestic product that was developed in-house, but was revealed to be based on Chromium
- Rockmelt – a Chromium-based browser for Windows, macOS, Android and iOS under a commercial proprietary licence. It integrated features from Facebook and Twitter, but was discontinued in April 2013 and fully retired at 10am PT on 31 July 2013. On 2 August 2013, Rockmelt was acquired by Yahoo! Rockmelt's extensions and its website was shut down after 31 August 2013. Yahoo! plans to integrate Rockmelt's technology into other products.
- SalamWeb – a web browser based on Chromium for Muslims, which only allowed Halal websites/information.
- Torch was a browser based on Chromium for Windows. It specialises in media downloading and has built-in media features, including a torrent engine, video grabber and sharing button.
Use in app frameworks
Significant portions of the Chromium code are used by some application frameworks. Notable examples are Electron, the Chromium Embedded Framework, and the Qt WebEngine. These frameworks have been used to create many apps.
- Google (2 September 2008). "Welcome to Chromium". Retrieved 28 April 2021.
- "Intent to Explain: Demystifying the Blink Shipping Process". Chromium Blog. 12 November 2019. Retrieved 27 April 2021.
- Shankland, Stephen (30 November 2020). "Google gets web allies by letting outsiders help build Chrome's foundation". CNET. Retrieved 27 April 2021.
- "Chromium - Language Breakdown". Open Hub. Retrieved 15 October 2021.
- "Chromium coding style". Google Open Source. Google Source. Retrieved 22 April 2021.
- "Web Platform Tests". Chromium repository. Retrieved 27 April 2021.
- "BSD license". Chromium repository. Retrieved 27 April 2021.
- "Chromium Terms and Conditions". Google Code. 2 September 2008. Archived from the original on 22 October 2008. Retrieved 27 April 2021.
- "Notes on Chromium". Woolyss. Retrieved 3 April 2021.
- Murphy, Glen (18 December 2012). "Why is Google Chrome browser named as Chrome?". Retrieved 6 July 2020.
- "Chromium sync Google API removed". 24 January 2021. Retrieved 20 March 2021.
- "Google Chrome Terms of Service". www.google.com. Retrieved 26 September 2017.
- "The Chromium Projects". Google. Retrieved 28 April 2021.
- "third_party - chromium/src.git - Git at Google". Chromium repository. Retrieved 27 April 2021.
- "Chromium bug tracking system". Retrieved 28 April 2021.
- "Tour of the Chromium Continuous Integration Console". Retrieved 26 April 2021.
- Frysinger, Mike (14 March 2014). "Version Numbers". The Chromium Projects. Retrieved 1 May 2015.
- LaForge, Anthony (16 December 2010). "Chrome Release Cycle -12/16/2010". Google Slides. Retrieved 1 May 2015.
- Paul, Ryan (September 2008). "Google unveils Chrome source code and Linux port". Retrieved 19 June 2010.
- Paul, Ryan (December 2008). "Google releases Chrome 1.0". Retrieved 19 June 2010.
- "1397 - Master password is missing". bugs.chromium.org. March 2011. Retrieved 29 March 2011.
- "812 - Profile/login support". bugs.chromium.org. March 2011. Retrieved 29 March 2011.
- Paul, Ryan (May 2009). "Hands on: Google Chromium browser alpha for Linux". Retrieved 20 June 2010.
- Paul, Ryan (June 2009). "Google releases Chrome preview for Mac OS X and Linux". Retrieved 20 June 2010.
- Paul, Ryan (July 2009). "Google Chromium gains native theming support on Linux". Retrieved 20 June 2010.
- Smith, Mike and Karen Grunberg (June 2009). "Danger: Mac and Linux builds available". Retrieved 22 June 2010.
- "User Experience". Chromium Developer Documentation. dev.chromium.org. 2009. Retrieved 5 July 2009.
- Sneddon, Joey-Elijah (July 2010). "Chromium's Unified Menu Comes to Daily Builds". Archived from the original on 15 August 2010. Retrieved 15 July 2010.
- Gruener, Wolfgang (July 2010). "Overview: Chrome 6, The Naked Browser". Archived from the original on 6 April 2012. Retrieved 14 July 2010.
- Nakano, Chelsi (August 2010). "Chromium 7 Has Arrived and It's Not that Awesome". Retrieved 20 August 2010.
- Gruener, Wolfgang (August 2010). "First Look: Google Increases Graphics Performance With Chrome 7". Archived from the original on 24 July 2012. Retrieved 20 August 2010.
- Gruener, Wolfgang (October 2010). "A Preview of Chrome 8: Clouds Ahead". Conceivably Tech. Archived from the original on 24 July 2012. Retrieved 14 October 2010.
- Bakke, Kurt (November 2010). "Google's Next Big Browser Play: Prerendering and False Start?". Conceivably Tech. Archived from the original on 24 July 2012. Retrieved 23 October 2010.
- Schuh, Justin and Carlos Pizano (December 2010). "Rolling out a sandbox for Adobe Flash Player". Chromium Blog. Retrieved 1 December 2010.
- Gruener, Wolfgang (February 2011). "Chrome 9 and 11: Instant Search, More Speed". Conceivably Tech. Archived from the original on 18 October 2012. Retrieved 6 February 2011.
- Protalinski, Emil (16 March 2011). "Google Chrome and Chromium to get new logos". Conceivably Tech. Retrieved 10 December 2017.
- Gruener, Wolfgang (February 2011). "Google May Kill Chrome URL Bar". Conceivably Tech. Archived from the original on 26 March 2013. Retrieved 6 February 2011.
- Gruener, Wolfgang (August 2011). "Google Shelves Hidden Location Bar". Conceivably Tech. Archived from the original on 6 April 2012. Retrieved 9 August 2011.
- Gruener, Wolfgang (March 2011). "Google Chrome in 2011: The Biggest Loser?". Archived from the original on 18 August 2012. Retrieved 27 March 2011.
- Shankland, Stephen (March 2011). "Google working to reverse Chrome bloat". Retrieved 27 March 2011.
- Gruener, Wolfgang (April 2011). "Google Preps Huge UI Update For Chrome". Conceivably Tech. Archived from the original on 6 April 2012. Retrieved 20 April 2011.
- Paul, Ryan (June 2011). "Chrome 12 arrives with security, rendering improvements". Ars Technica. Retrieved 12 June 2011.
- Bailey, Dan (May 2011). "Google Trims Fat From Chrome". Conceivably Tech. Archived from the original on 6 April 2012. Retrieved 5 May 2011.
- Paul, Ryan (May 2011). "Chrome 13 introduces experimental hidden nav bar option". Ars Technica. Retrieved 19 May 2011.
- Gruener, Wolfgang (May 2011). "Google Is Serious: You Can Kill Chrome's URL Bar". Conceivably Tech. Archived from the original on 19 April 2012. Retrieved 19 May 2011.
- Bailey, Dan (June 2011). "No More Updates For Firefox 4, Chromium 14 Released". Conceivably Tech. Archived from the original on 6 April 2012. Retrieved 3 June 2011.
- Paul, Ryan (September 2011). "Chrome 14 arrives with improved Lion support and NaCl". Ars Technica. Retrieved 20 September 2011.
- Bailey, Dan (September 2011). "3D Web Browsing Sneaks into Google Chrome". Conceivably Tech. Archived from the original on 18 August 2012. Retrieved 19 September 2011.
- Bailey, Dan (September 2011). "Google To Switch Chromium For Mac Graphics to Skia". Conceivably Tech. Archived from the original on 16 June 2012. Retrieved 19 September 2011.
- Mathias, Raz (15 May 2012). "Keeping tabs on your tabs". Retrieved 15 May 2012.
- Paul, Ryan (16 May 2012). "Hands-on with the new tab synchronization feature in Chrome 19". Ars Technica. Retrieved 19 May 2012.
- Grunberg, Karen (31 July 2012). "Stable Channel Release". Retrieved 31 July 2012.
- Paul, Ryan (31 July 2012). "Chrome 21 launches with webcam API and retina Mac support". Ars Technica. Retrieved 15 August 2012.
- Grunberg, Karen (6 November 2012). "Stable Channel Release and Beta Channel Update 23.0.1271.64". Google. Retrieved 6 November 2012.
- "Issue 11125002: Add QuicFramer and friends. - Code Review". chromiumcodereview.appspot.com. Retrieved 25 December 2020.
- Barth, Adam (April 3, 2013). "Chromium Blog: Blink: A rendering engine for the Chromium project". Blog.chromium.org. Archived from the original on April 4, 2013. Retrieved June 14, 2013.
- Bright, Peter (3 April 2013). "Google going its own way, forking WebKit rendering engine". Ars Technica. Conde Nast. Retrieved 9 March 2017.
- Cho, Eddie (20 August 2013). "Chrome 29 adds a reset button". CNET. Retrieved 8 April 2014.
- Grunberg, Karen and Daniel Xie (14 January 2014). "Stable Channel Update". Google Chrome Release Notes. Retrieved 14 January 2014.
- "Google Chrome Browser – New Material Design – 10 Years Anniversary". TehnoBlog.org.
- Bradbury, Danny (6 December 2018). "Chrome 71 stomps on abusive advertising". Naked Security. Retrieved 7 December 2018.
- "Limiting private API availability in Chromium". Retrieved 20 March 2021.
- "Fire Drills and Proving a Point". CodeWeavers. 15 September 2008. Retrieved 2 May 2009.
- "CrossOver Chromium". Archived from the original on 18 September 2008. Retrieved 18 September 2008.
- "Comodo Dragon 46 is now available for download. - News/ Announcements/ Feedback - CD". comodo.com. Retrieved 31 March 2017.
- Comodo Group (2010). "Comodo Dragon Internet Browser". Retrieved 28 June 2010.
- "Tech in Asia - Connecting Asia's startup ecosystem". www.techinasia.com.
- "StatCounter Global Stats - Browser, OS, Search Engine including Mobile Usage Share". StatCounter Global Stats.
- "Cốc Cốc | Cốc Cốc ra mắt trình duyệt Internet riêng cho thị trường Việt Nam". Cốc Cốc Search Engine.
- Conklin, Audrey (10 July 2020). "What is Gab.com?". Fox Business. Archived from the original on 8 August 2020. Retrieved 9 August 2020.
- "FAQS". epic the privacy browser. Retrieved 31 December 2013.
- "Qt WebEngine Overview - Qt WebEngine 5.11". doc.qt.io. Retrieved 21 October 2018.
- "Frequently asked questions". qutebrowser.org.
- Belfiore, Joe (15 January 2020), New year, new browser – The new Microsoft Edge is out of preview and now available for download, Microsoft
- "Microsoft Edge and Chromium Open Source: Our Intent". Microsoft Edge Team. 6 December 2018. Retrieved 8 December 2018.
- Lawson, Bruce (28 May 2013). "A first peek at Opera 15 for Computers". Opera Developer News. Archived from the original on 7 June 2013. Retrieved 24 November 2016.
- processZ (产品经理) (15 July 2016). "360安全浏览器帮助中心". 360社区 (in Chinese). Retrieved 21 June 2017.
升级内核至Chromium 45 内核
- Koch, Peter-Paul (11 October 2016). "What's The Deal with the Samsung Internet Browser?". Smashing Magazine.
- The Fenrir website. "The Sleipnir product web page". The luxury advanced web browser, with beautiful text ... Fenrir Inc. Retrieved 12 March 2014.
- "Chrome vs Iron". The SR Ware website. SR Ware; Stefan Ries. Retrieved 12 March 2014.
- "GitHub - Eloston/ungoogled-chromium: Google Chromium, sans integration with Google". GitHub. Retrieved 13 August 2021.
- "Home - Vivaldi Forum". vivaldi.net. Archived from the original on 11 January 2016. Retrieved 31 March 2017.
- Williams, Owen (27 January 2015). "Meet Vivaldi, A New Browser From the Former CEO of Opera". thenextweb.com. Retrieved 31 March 2017.
- "Yandex Browser — neat, convenient and smart". browser.yandex.com.
- "How to install extensions to the mobile "Yandex.Browser" for Android". edwardsrailcar.com.
- Iedtke, Michael (16 June 2010). "Flock Browser Gets Faster, Friendlier With Upgrade". ABC. Retrieved 17 June 2010.
- Sneddon, Joey (April 2011). "End of the line for Flock social browser". OMG Ubuntu. Retrieved 15 April 2011.
- Dai, Sarah (17 August 2018). "Redcore CEO admits '100pc China-developed browser' is built on Google's Chrome, says writing code from scratch would 'take many years'". South China Morning Post. Archived from the original on 17 August 2018. Retrieved 17 August 2018.
- Duncan, Geoff (2010). "RockMelt browser builds in social tools". Retrieved 27 November 2010.
- "Rockmelt Blog". Archived from the original on 31 August 2013. Retrieved 16 July 2013.
- Dredge, Stuart (5 August 2013). "Yahoo buys social web-browser startup Rockmelt but shuts down its apps | Technology". theguardian. Retrieved 3 November 2013.
- Serea, Razvan Mihai Asmanow (2012). "Torch Browser: Fast web browser, BitTorrent client and video downloader".