When you say Chromium, most users tend to think of a jumble of unusable source code that Google engineers use to build the more advanced Chrome browser.
But unbeknownst to most users is that Chromium ships as a standalone browser with a graphical user interface that looks identical to Chrome's UI, and which anyone can use to navigate the internet.
Google Chrome is the reason why the Chromium project exists in the first place. Both projects were launched at the same time, on September 2, 2008, because Google wanted to dispel rumors that it was planning to use Chrome to spy on users' browsing habits, so it open-sourced Chrome's inner guts as the Chromium project, under an open-source license.
Ever since its launch in late 2008, Chrome has become today's top browser, amassing a browser market share of over 62 percent, at the time of writing. The browser doesn't need any introduction, as it's very well known by most internet surfers.
In December 2018, Microsoft announced that it was going to port its Edge browser from its proprietary EdgeHTML engine to Google's Chromium.
We got that browser in January 2020, and it is a delight to work with, being one of the best Chromium offshoots on the market.
Opera was the first of the major browsers to switch to Chromium as its core engine. This happened in 2013, with the release of Opera 15, and at the time, it shocked the browser industry.
Until it switched to Chromium, Opera used its proprietary browser engine and was considered one of the most customizable and innovative browser makers on the market.
This didn't stop with the Chromium switch, as Opera continued to innovate and break new grounds for browsers, being the first to integrate an ad blocker by default, a VPN-like system, a cryptocurrency wallet, and it was also the first browser to experiment a floating video player window years before Google developers even thought of adding one to Chrome.
Vivaldi was officially launched in April 2016 by Vivaldi Technologies, a company co-founded by Jon von Tetzchner, one of Opera's co-founders.
Just like the original Opera, Vivaldi has been built around the principle of user customizability. Among all the Chromium-based browsers, Vivaldi is the one that comes with the most customization options of them all.
Currently, Vivaldi is a stable browser that can rival any other Chromium-based browsers in features and speed, even Chrome.
Brave is one of the most daring browser projects in recent years. Founded by one of Mozilla's former CEOs, the Brave browser incorporates some unique concepts such as showing its own browser-level ads instead of the ads shown on websites and then paying content publishers for ad revenue blocked by its built-in ad blocker.
The browser started out initially by using only a small fraction of the Chromium codebase, using its own UI package, but has recently switched to a full Chromium integration.
Blisk is a Chromium browser like no other, mainly because it's aimed at developers above all. Regular users can use it too, but the browser is packed choke-full with tools and features that developers often install as extensions on Chrome installations.
This developer-oriented browser comes with features such a tool that lets devs test how a website would look on laptops, tablets, and smartphones alike; support for touch events; user-agent switching; different device pixel ratio rendering; and many other more.
Unless you're really set in your ways, most developers will immediately switch from Chrome to Blisk at the moment they first lay their eyes on it.
Just like Blisk, Colibri is another Chromium-based browser that took a unique approach to its development and marketing.
Instead of creating yet another Chrome-like clone, the Colibri team developed a browser optimized for navigating the web in a no-tab experience. That's right! Colibri is a browser that doesn't support multiple tabs and only lets users use one tab in a light and compact GUI that looks like no other Chromium-based browser.
Epic Browser is a Chromium-based browser focused on blocking... almost anything. It's one of the most privacy-hardened Chromium-based browsers out there.
According to its website, the browser "blocks ads, trackers, fingerprinting, cryptomining, ultrasound signaling and more." Epic Browser developers claim the browser can block over 600 different types of tracking attempts. The browser also comes with a free VPN service with servers in 8 countries.
SRWare Iron, or Iron Browser, is a Chromium-based web browser developed by the German company SRWare. It was initially developed on a separate codebase, before switching to Chromium in 2015.
Iron is similar to Epic Browser, being another Chromium-based browser focusing on user privacy. It comes with a built-in ad blocker, a user-agent switcher, and more.
Ungoogled Chromium is one of the most recent forks of the Chromium project, and one that came out of some users' dissatisfaction and paranoia towards Google's user tracking practices.
As the project's name clearly implies, Ungoogled Chromium is a fork of the Chromium project that has removed all the parts that interact or have any sort of relation to Google services.
Despite being a new project, Ungoogled Chromium has already gathered quite a big following among Chrome fanboys.
A category of its own in the list of Chromium forks is the one of vendor-specific modifications. These are Chromium browsers that have been heavily modified by companies to fit a specific purpose or niches, such as security, media playback, torrent downloading, and the such.
The list of vendor-specific implementations includes the Avast Secure Browser, Amazon Silk, Samsung Internet Browser, Yandex Browser, Qihoo 360 Secure Browser, Torch Browser, and Comodo Dragon. Other may be around, although not that well known.
But besides the big projects, there are countless smaller Chromium forks that you might have never heard off.
The list of also-rans includes names such as Coc Coc, Falkon, Xvast, Polarity, TheWorld Chrome, Naver Whale, Kinza, Iridium, Tungsten, Ghost Browser, Superbird, Lulumi, Chedot, Orbitum, Cent Browser, and most likely others that we were not able to find.
Another distinct category of Chromium browser forks is the one holding all the browser projects that at one time or another have gone dead after developers realized they wouldn't be toppling the world with their product.
The list of dead Chromium-based browsers includes RockMelt, Maelstrom, Slim Browser, Aviator, Flock, Dartium, Beamrise, Sentria, Titan Browser, Sleipnir, WebFreer, Redcore, and a few other more.