Google Chrome and Chromium Browser

Understanding Google Chrome different versions, Chromium project & Chromium-based browsers – Which to choose?

Google chrome is the most popular browser at present. Apart from chrome, many other popular browsers are also based on google’s open source chromium project. Chrome has various versions or release channels which can become quite confusing for non-tech-savvy people. This post will cover everything to fully know chrome and chromium.

Essentially, there are  4 update channels for chrome. These are stable, beta, developer and canary.

1. Stable Google Chrome

Google Chrome

This is the main version of chrome that most people are using. The stable version goes through lots of testing before being pushed out to make sure that all bugs are resolved. As It contains only fully developed features, some features from beta and other versions may miss out. But it gives you the option to access many of the half baked features through hidden flags. But it’s not convenient for general users.

The stable version doesn’t get too many frequent updates. For minor updates, it takes 2-3 weeks and 6 weeks before major updates.

2.BETA Google Chrome

Beta Google Chrome

Beta version allows you to preview features in development. It’s updated weekly. Generally, the beta version gets updated 4-6 weeks before the stable version update. Even though it is not technically a stable version, it is most stable and should be free of any major bugs.

It’s for people who want to taste the new features of chrome but don’t want to deal with a lot of bugs.  It is also a great option for big organizations with lots of workers working on big projects. A small portion of the team can test their product with upcoming changes in chrome.

3. Developer Google Chrome

Developer Google Chrome

Developer version is typically 9-12 weeks ahead of stable versions. If you want to use the developer version, you have to think a bit regarding stability issues. But most obvious and severe bugs should had been already sorted out.

This is mostly focused on developers as the name suggests. It’s great for web and app developers to make use of cutting age chrome features. It allows them to test their API way ahead of beta and stable version.

4. Canary Google Chrome

Canary Google Chrome

Canary is the bleeding edge version of chrome. Its features are given as soon as they develop. It’s updated nightly with very little testing done. So many times features can be quiet unstable and you can encounter huge bugs.

It’s not clearly mentioned that how far the canary version is compared to the developer version. It’s most probably 12 weeks ahead. Features are added as soon as created by developers. It’s for people who need the cutting edge features for whatever reasons.

Things to consider

You can choose only one out of the first three options. Canary version can be installed separately along with these. For most people, the stable version works absolutely fine and doesn’t need to mess around anything. Most people don’t even notice the new features being added to chrome unless it’s very visual.

The beta version is stable most times and if you face any bugs you can report them and get feedback. Personally, I won’t recommend the developer channel because it’s most unstable. If you want super new features it’s better to go with the canary build as the canary build can be installed separately in addition to one of the previous three.

One of the use cases of the canary is to test and compare with the normal version for crosschecking bugs. Beta versions are available for all different versions. Developer and canary versions are not available on IOS.

chromium-browser

Let’s focus on Chromium browser! Chromium is a free and open-source version of google chrome. It’s fully featured and shares a large portion of source code with google chrome. Though chrome and chromium have many similarities, chrome has its own close-sourced Features. 

Here are some of the exclusive features of chrome

  • AAC, H.264 and MP3 Support
  • Google Update
  • Extension restrictions
  • Crash and error reporting
  • Security sandbox

Chromium-based browsers

We discussed chrome and chromium-based browsers. As the source code of chromium is open for everyone to use, many companies tweaked the source code of chromium to create their own browser. These browsers share a lot of the same features with chrome and add their own browser-specific features. Even Microsoft is making its next version of the edge browser based on chromium source code. 

Here are some chromium based browsers

  • Google chrome
  • Opera Browser
  • Microsoft Edge [ 2020]
  • Torch Web Browser
  • Comodo Dragon Browser

I personally use stable chrome as my default browser and also downloaded firefox and a few other chromium-based browsers. If you are a tech-savvy person its something you can try out.

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