Chromium plated

I never did find out what was causing Google Chrome to crash so much on my computer. However, after several months of using Chrome I found Firefox rather slow and clunky. So I had a look round to see if there were any other browsers. It turned out that there were more alternatives than I ever imagined.

The first alternative browser I found was one called Avant. This is a powerful browser with a lot of configurability, developed by a Chinese programmer. It boasts the ability to render web pages using your choice of the Internet Explorer, Firefox or Chrome rendering engines, which is probably handy if you’re a website developer. I set it to use Chrome and it displayed the pages that had give me trouble with nary a murmur. But I found the user interface rather heavy after the minimalist approach of Google Chrome. So I kept it on my hard drive but carried on looking.

The next candidate I stumbled across was SRWare Iron. It almost counts as two browsers in one, as it installed two shortcuts on my desktop, one named SRWare Iron and one named Chromium, both pointing to the same executable. This turns out to be a browser built from the same open source code as Google’s Chrome by a German company. Germans seem to be a bit sensitive about privacy, so the main difference with this SRWare browser is that it does not send information about your browsing habits back to Google. What, you didn’t know Google Chrome did that? Neither did I until I discovered this program, though I thought I opted out of this during Chrome’s installation.

Apparently you can opt out of all the Google tracking if you choose the appropriate settings in Chrome, but most users won’t do this. So Iron / Chromium could be said to be a better version of Chrome than Google’s, certainly from the privacy point of view. Chrome extensions like AdBlock Plus work as with the real thing. Chromium even supports the ability to log in to your Google account to save and restore your bookmarks and other settings, which was very handy.  Try it, you’ll never notice the difference.

I’m happy with Chromium / Iron as my default web browser now. So far, it hasn’t crashed on me. But I also discovered another Chrome clone. It’s called Comodo Dragon and it’s made by the Comodo security company. Dragon is also built from the Chrome open source code and omits the Google tracking code, but it     has some extra security features added by Comodo. So it looks like an even better option if you are really privacy-conscious.

Julian Moss, G4ILO, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Cumbria, England. Contact him at [email protected].

3 Responses to “Chromium plated”

  • Andrew, W8FI:

    I had the same issues with FireFox on my MacBook Pro. I switched to SW Iron but their latest build does not work on my version of OSX, so I’ve been forced back to FireFox. On my more updated MBP I do still use Iron and I love it. The Comodo options looks great, but unfortunately they are Windows only.

  • Mark AI4HO:

    I’m running Win 7 home premium on my Dell laptop, at least I think its home premium, had to take it in 3 or 4 months ago to get it to work properly. Seems the good folks at O.com forgot a couple things when..or if the actually did a refurb on it. That said, I often will run two browsers, for a long time it was Google Chrome, with Firefox as my second browser. I would often get on Chrome, and if I wanted just email or maybe another web site, ok, but if I was doing some heavy web research, or web browsing, I would minmize chrome, bring up Firefox and just go to it. I would switch between the 2 browsers, which I could do with XP, even Vista as bad as it was I ould do 2 browsers with Vista. This Dell is OK, but not the best, I would almost rather use my tablet than my Dell laptop.

    I will have to look into these other browsers, SWIron, and Comodo, because even now, now that Windows had to be reinstalled on this computer (a driver bio just disappeared..go figure). Ment bios driver, kinda backwards today. I am probably in the minority, but I don’t mind firefox, beats the hell out of IE 9, or 10, or whatever it is they’re on now. Any how, will check out these two browsers and see what we shall see, thanks for the update on that.

    Mark
    AI4HO

  • Larry VE8NX:

    I shall give SWIron a go. Thanks for the info. My Chrome has been acting up – freezing, forgetting passwords, etc. No help from the Chrome folks. I looked through online groups and some of the problems have been around a long time with no hint of a response from Chrome.

    Or maybe I’m just getting grumpy in my dotage 😉

    and this tops it. Chrome crashed trying to send my comment. They must be on to me….

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