Google introduced the Google Chrome browser in 2008 and released all of its code as open-source under a permissive BSD license. The technology giant has since become the principal leader and developer of the open-source codebase project called “Chromium,” which forms part of The Chromium Projects together with the open-source Chromium OS.
Drawing inspiration from open source projects spearheaded by Mozilla Foundation, which resulted in the Mozilla Firefox web browser, and Apple, which resulted in the WebKit browser engine and the Safari web browser, the goal of the Chromium project is to drive the web forward, thus allowing Google to become a leader in web technologies and standards.
It is important to highlight the fact that Chromium is a browser in itself made from the codebase. The entire application is considerably raw when compared to Google Chrome and other browsers developed by third parties. Furthermore, although it shares design similarities with Chrome, there are notable differences between the two.
Nevertheless, several browsers for desktop and mobile operating systems now use the Chromium codebase. Examples of these include Microsoft Edge from Microsoft, Opera from Opera Software, Amazon Silk from Amazon, Brave from Brave Software, Samsung Internet from Samsung, the Kiwi Browser, and Yandex Browser by Yandex N.V.
Pros: Advantages of Chromium Codebase
A number of developers have preferred building and developing web browsers based on Chromium because it is free and readily accessible to the public. Of course, there are also other advantages that add up to its overall appeal.
Provides Convenience and Cost Savings to Developers due to the Free and Open Source Nature of the Codebase
Remember that the project centers on the development and maintenance of a codebase that is free for distribution and modification, as well as open for further collaborations to the public. Open source projects afford developers several advantages.
For starters, using a free and open-source codebase saves developers time and resources because there is no need for them to write source codes from scratch. The open-source model also takes advantage of public collaboration that allows faster and more efficient development and deployment of updates and exploit fixes than proprietary source codes.
Chromium fundamentally empowers established and startup software developers to build their own web browsers. This is aligned with the goal of Google to spearhead the discovery and implementation of new technologies and standards needed to drive the web forward.
Google also Collaborates with the Open Source Community to Improve Further the Chromium Codebase
The project has remained open for collaboration with other individuals and organizations within the open-source community. One prime example is the engagement with the WebKit community to integrate the patches it developed back to the main line of WebKit development.
Other companies have made important contributions to the entire codebase over the years. These include, among other, technology giants such as Microsoft and Intel, multinational conglomerate LG and Samsung, and Russian technology giant Yandex N.V.
Inter-Compatibility of Browser Extensions or Add-ons Across Different Chromium-Based Web Browser
Remember that the Chromium codebase underpins several popular web browsers such as Google Chrome, Brave, Microsoft Edge, and Opera. Furthermore, it is important to note that one of the strengths of Chrome is the availability of browser extensions.
The large library of extensions available for Chrome comes from three factors: the established reputation of Google as a company, the dominant market share for Chrome, and the open-source nature of Chromium. Hence, over the years, numerous developers have opted to develop and publish plugins or extensions for this web browser from Google.
Furthermore, because of the developer-side advantages of the Chromium codebase, several Chromium-based browsers have emerged. Most extensions built for Chrome are compatible with these browsers. Users can take advantage of cross-browser compatibility.
Simple and Straightforward User Interface Design Philosophy for Baster Web Browsing User Experience
Another advantage of Chromium is minimalism. Browsers based on this codebase usually have a clean and simple user interface. The recommended design philosophy of this codebase is to prioritize content over the appearance of the application.
Thus, despite being a codebase for graphical web browsers, it departs from the graphics-heavy and clunky design that characterized earlier browsers during the 1900s and until the middle part of the 2000s. A simple and straightforward user interface also allows the application to channel its resource requirements on loading and running websites and webpages.
Google stresses the fact that a Chromium-based browser should feel lightweight both cognitively and physically, as well as fast. One of the major reasons for the noteworthy performance of Google Chrome is this minimalist design philosophy.
Cons: Disadvantages of Chromium Codebase
Several Chromium-Based Browsers are Notorious for Consuming a Huge Amount of System Resources
Of course, despite the fast and reliable performance of Google Chrome, one of its disadvantages or weaknesses is its tendency to utilize a considerable portion of hardware resources, especially the random access memory of a device.
Chrome will consume too much RAM whenever there are more opened tabs or a user is accessing content-heavy and highly interactive websites. The same RAM-intensive scenario has been observed in Microsoft Edge by technology reviewers and users. Installing and activating more browser extensions or plugins would also consume more memory.
This drawback stems from the tendency of developers to build and deploy highly responsive and considerably fast Chromium-based web browsers. Of course, remember that the codebase itself prioritizes the maximum usage of hardware resources.
A Possible Tendency to Create a Browser Engine Monoculture that Could Render Other Browsers Obsolete
Google Chrome has been criticized for its privacy issues, as well as due to the numerous attempts of Google to deploy and implement web technologies and standards that would give it a considerable amount of control of how websites and the entire web work.
Critics have raised concern over the dominance of Chrome and its implication in the entire web ecosystem. However, this issue is dismissible because a lot of Chromium-based browsers are challenging the market position of Chrome. The real issue lies in the possible emergence of a browser engine monoculture that could outpace non-Chromium-based browsers.
Most web developers are creating websites and web apps optimized for Chrome due to its dominance. These optimizations should apply to other Chromium-based browsers. However, this phenomenon creates problems for browsers such as Firefox and Safari.
Understanding the Difference Between Chromium Browser and Google Chrome, Other Chromium-Based Browsers
Remember that Chromium is a browser in itself. Users are free to download it from the official The Chromium Projects website. Furthermore, it is available on Windows, macOS, Linux and Linux distributions, and Chrome OS.
But it is important to reiterate the fact that the browser itself is raw. When compared to Google Chrome, it lacks key features to include API keys for several Google services, automatic browser updates, tracking mechanism for usage and crash report, and licensed codecs for proprietary media formats such as AAC, H.264, and MP3.
Some websites might not function well when open and browsed using Chromium. Furthermore, because it lacks automatic updates, and due to the fact that the most latest build includes all new untested features and updates, instabilities, bugs, and security issues are possible.
Takeaway: Advantages and Disadvantages of the Chromium Codebase Project
Because several Chromium-based browsers have emerged since the popularity of Google Chrome, another advantage of using this codebase, as well as advantages for web browsers based on this codebase, centers on uniformity when it comes to implementing and utilizing web technologies and standards. Cross-browser compatibility of extensions is also a remarkable positive offshoot of a popular free and open-source browser engine.
There are some notable drawbacks and issues. Google and Microsoft have demonstrated a tendency to develop Chromium-based browsers that consume high amounts of RAM. This suggests that the codebase alone is resource-demanding and there is a need to rethink the inclusion and hardware optimization of modifications. Of course, several browsers based on this codebase are considerably resource-efficient. Examples include Opera and Brave.