Chromium is an open source project. Some of the code Google used to create Chrome originally came from the KDE project. Because that technology (KHTML, later WebKit) was released under a free software license which requires that improvements or modifications be released under the same license, Google had to make Chromium open source. Now you can use different builds of Chromium, some not having the Google proprietary shell and with options such as installing without Sync, WebRTC and Widevine. The Google API key is undefined in some available builds. A stripped down version on Chromium means services like Sync, Hotword, Translate, Now and Hangout will not work. You will not be able to log in with your Google account and synchronize your data to Google’s cloud. Without Widevine Chromium will not be able to play DRM content (on Netflix, for example). Without WebRTC some browser apps or communication plugins might not work if they rely on it. You can view the available builds and see which is right for you with the download button below.
Iridium is an opensource Chromium fork which has made many security and privacy enhancements and the disabling most of Google services in the browser. It has various enhancements where it forces strict security to provide the maximum level of security without compromising compatibility. Iridium does not sync with Google, this requires a Google API key, client ID and client secret. Iridium does not ship with one — therefore it does not work. If you insist to use Google sign-in, check Chromium API keys and follow the instructions for
Providing Keys at Runtime.
Some changes include:
- Increasing the RSA keysize to 2048 bits for self-signed certificates (used by WebRTC)
- Generating a new WebRTC identity for each connection instead of reusing identities for 30 days
- Fetches plugins list from
iridiumbrowser.dewhere it will be updated regularly.
A full list of changes can be found here.
A closed source build of Chromium without Google. Comodo Dragon installs without Google’s user behavior tracker, Google’s updater, or the Google Analytics tracker. It allows you to remove all traces of your usage upon exit. And finally, it does not use Google search by default if you type something in the url bar. You can even remove Google as its default search engine but has Yahoo as its default which you can change but not remove.
- Has privacy enhancements. Give you the option to use Comodo Secure DNS servers.
- Has Domain Validation technology that identifies and segregates superior SSL certificates from inferior ones.
- Stops cookies and other Web spies.
- Prevents all Browser download tracking to ensure your privacy.
- Give the option to have a portable version of the browser upon installation.
The browser does come with some preinstalled plugins which you can uninstall and are not available on the Chrome Web Store:
- Comodo Drag & Drop – Drag and drop anything to it: URL, image etc. and share it on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin etc.
- Comodo Web Inspector – is a malware and blacklist monitoring service for websites.
- Comodo Media Grabber – Allows you to quickly download streaming video or audio files from websites like YouTube.
- IP/DNS Data – IP / DNS Leakage Detector helps you to see what information can be seen by the web sites that you visit. In these web sites, site owners, advertisers,
widgets can track and collect these information. You cannot uninstall this extension.
Comodo Dragon Has a one time pop-up asking you to install Comodo antivirus for more protection. You can decline this.
SR Ware Iron
Another Chromium variant is the SR Ware Iron browser. Iron boasts about having removed most if not all of Google proprietary services.The User-Agent in Iron can be flexible and permanently changed by UA.ini. Iron has an easy to use and built-in adblocker which can be configured by a single file. This browser seems to be proprietary and there doesn’t seem to be a detailed change log of its versions. The source code is here: part 1 & part 2. This browser is available on Windows, Linux, MacOS and Android.