Getting Chromium

Since Google released Chrome last year, I've gotten used to regularly using two browsers on my PC: Google Chrome for all of my "simple" personal browsing such as webmail, and Firefox for more advanced browsing such as website development. This also tends to create a nice separation of personal (Chrome) versus work (Firefox) tasks.

However, one thing that has bothered me for some time is the (slightly) proprietary nature of Google Chrome... don't get me wrong, Chrome is built from the opensource Chromium project, so it's not all *that* proprietary, but still, something does not quite sit right with me.

The obvious solution for me is to simply switch from Google Chrome to Chromium... but repeated visits to the Chromium website have offered no binary builds to install (and I just don't have the time to try to setup a build process just for it).

However, just this past week, I stumbled across a download link for Chromium builds! (I really wish I could remember where I found the link - just to give credit). Anyway, so I went ahead and installed Chromium (it lives happily side-by-side with Google Chrome), and haven't looked back since :)

Chromium has fix a number of minor annoyances I've had with Google Chrome (not the least one being the annoying way Chrome only tells you an update is available if you happen to deliberately bring up the "About Chrome" box).

Anyway, the latest Chromium builds can be downloaded from: http://build.chromium.org/buildbot/snapshots/

Of course, these are automated (half-hourly?) builds, so any given build can easily contain new bugs. Reading through the changelogs reveals that bugs are indeed often being introduced, and fixed again within hours, but as always, buyer (or downloader) beware ;) But for someone like me, who doesn't mind living on the edge (especially when I still have Firefox and Google Chrome installed anyway), it's quite fun to have new updates available every half hour (not that I update that often... well, not every time anyway).

A few more notes: One thing that was a little disappointing - Chromium can import bookmarks, passwords, etc from both Firefox and IE... in my case, it would be nice if it would import from Google Chrome too.

Also, once you have Chromium installed the "update" process is surprisingly silent. That is, if you download the latest Chromium installer and run it while Chromium is running, then nothing happens (for me at least)... no errors, just... nothing. So you have to quit Chromium (nothing strange about that), then run the installer - in which case, still nothing *appears* to happen, but if you wait a few seconds, then run Chromium and visit the "About Chromium" menu item, you'll see that it has indeed been updated. At the very least, it would be nice if the installer would just let you know when it's finished or something, but these are automated builds, intended for developers / testers only, so I'm definitely not complaining - just giving a heads-up for anyone else wanting to play ;)

One final thing: I really like the look and feel of Chromium's updated "New Tab" page (once I've turned the "recent activities" and "recommendations" off), but its a little sad too see that the number of thumbnails has been reduced from 9 to 8... with my typical window layout, it could easily show 12... maybe I'll have to contribute some code sometime :)

Oh, and yet another final thing (last one, I promise), I also prefer Chromium's more subtle logo colors over Google Chrome's logo... looks nicer on the desktop and taskbar :)

Chromium Logo   Google Chrome Logo

That's all for now! :)

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