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What is Google Chrome™ for Linux®?

Leonardo Von Navorski
Leonardo Von Navorski

Google Chrome™ for the Linux operating system is an open-source web browser. The developer's version of Google Chrome™ for Linux was released in June 2009. This version was not meant to be downloaded by consumers; instead, developers were encouraged to test and improve the browser.

The early developer's version lacked many of the features of the stable Google Chrome™ browser for the Microsoft Windows® operating system. The missing features included the ability to play embedded videos at some websites, the ability to adjust the browser privacy settings or even the ability to print from the browser. This developer's version of Google Chrome™ for Linux was released at the same time as the developer's version of Google Chrome™ for Mac OS®.

Man holding computer
Man holding computer

By December 2009, most of the bugs in the developer's version of Google Chrome™ for Linux had been resolved. At this time, Google officially upgraded the browser to beta status and encouraged non-developers to download the browser and test it. By May 2010, Google officially released a stable version of Google Chrome™ for Linux, along with a stable version of the browser for other popular operating systems.

The original version of Google Chrome™ was released in September of 2008 for Windows®. The company also released the source code for the Linux and Mac OS® ports at this time. Although it was only partially functional, it eventually led to the Google Chrome™ for Linux developer's version and ultimately to the first stable release.

Google Chrome™ is a simplistic but robust browser. The first thing that many users notice about the browser — regardless of the operating system — is that the browser header is simple, straightforward and smaller than its primary competitors. Google is well known for promoting the browser's speed compared to its competitors. The company released a speed test showing the browser's ability to start and open eight browsing tabs in 15 seconds.

A number of extensions are available for the Google Chrome™ for Linux web browser. Google's large, open-source extension and application gallery is accessible with just a few clicks. The gallery is searchable by keyword and extension function. Google Chrome™ for Linux also comes with an optional mode that wipes away every trace of the websites visited during the browsing session. This web browsing mode is sometimes referred to as "porn mode" by some users and members of the media.

Discussion Comments

@Markerrag -- Well the two projects are related and similar but not quite the same. Confused? Well, it is a confusing idea but I'll try to explain it.

Chromium is an open source project launched by Google and Chrome draws its source code from that. There are a few differences between the two browsers. Chrome adds a bit more to the source code and those additions are not open source (i.e., free to distribute with no restrictions). Chromium, for example, doesn't have as many built-in functions but those can be obtained through add-ins. Chromium also natively recognizes fewer audio and video files (but that functionality can be added in).

In short, there's not a whole lot of difference and most people won't notice because the two browsers are very similar (the main difference, honestly, is that Chrome has a colorful logo while the one for Chromium is blue). A lot of Linux distros come bundled with Chromium, so you are likely using that if you have Linux.

In other words, Chrome is based on Chromium but they two are almost identical except for a few proprietary differences in Chrome. Yes, it's a confusing world.


Wait a minute. I thought the version of Google Chrome for Linux was called Chromium and was somehow different from Chrome. Are the two browsers actually the same thing?

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