Ungoogled-Chromium – Better Google Chrome
Min-maxing resources is quite a fun game for some or a necessity for others and it can be applied to many apps on your PC. One of the main ways you interact with your computer is through a web browser, and depending on your priorities (speed, privacy, customizability, etc) you will end up using a different option.
Since a lot of the web right now is optimized for the Chromium engine in a certain aspect you are forced to use a browser that runs on it. The most obvious choice then is Google Chrome, but to the privacy-oriented folks, this is not necessarily a good solution since Chrome is known for collecting a lot of data for Google through telemetry.
If you want to benefit from a Chrome-like experience but with fewer privacy concerns you should try Ungoogled-Chromium.
What Is Ungoogled Chromium?
As the name implies Ungoogled-Chromium is an interesting approach to retaining the Google Chrome experience without all of the Google telemetry. The browser fork succeeds at its task of being a fast and responsive Google Chrome alternative that you can use daily without any complications.
This fork of Chromium also packs features centered around privacy and transparency, but since it is based on Chrome, you would have to turn these on manually. The question then becomes how much of the Chrome comfort you want to retain VS how much of your privacy you want to regain.
This will be an individual choice so turn on as many of the privacy flags as you need but in essence, what Ungoogled Chromium does by default is getting rid of Google callbacks and runtime requests.
Ungoogled Chromium: FAQ
Since Ungoogled-Chromium is stripped down some of the functions you are expecting might not be there, but fear not this is all covered in their FAQ channel.
The most basic question I was also confronted with is how to install extensions if the browser cannot use a Google account. The answer to this is pretty simple, you just use the Chromium-web-store extension that allows you to install your usual extensions without an account.
To install the extension you simply go to your extensions tab, enable developer mode and drag-and-drop the .crx file in.
Your extensions will update semi-automatically since you will see a notification on the Chromium Web Store extension which will prompt you to update.
The second thing you need to be aware of is that in Ungoogled Chromium the setting to clear cookies on browser exit is set to on by default. If you want to keep your accounts logged in after you close your browser you will need to either turn the flag/setting off or create a white list like I did to keep only the sites you care about being logged in.
Besides these 2 steps I haven’t felt the need to customize or change anything and the browser has been working flawlessly for me and my needs.
Why Go Through the Trouble
Even though it’s a minuscule amount of work to set up your extensions and cookies for people that are used to logging into Chrome and having everything done by the browser this swap might not make sense.
The short answer to why you should try this fork of Chrome is:
- Enhance your privacy and only use services that you choose to use without them tapping into your information without you wanting it
- Without all of the telemetry and background junk Ungoogled Chromium is lean and runs well
Before Ungoogled Chromium, I was using Mozilla Firefox with a similar delete-on-exit cookie setup and a whitelist for the accounts and sites I use daily. Although Firefox gave me no troubles it was noticeably slower than Ungoogled Chromium at opening and loading certain pages (as mentioned previously most sites are optimized for Chrome) and it used a lot more resources when doing the same tasks.
This was especially the case when watching a Twitch stream or YouTube stream/video which most likely once again has to do with how optimized are the players for Firefox VS Chrome.
If you take a peek at privacy tests you can see that Ungoogled Chromium, although a lot better than Chrome, falls behind Brave or Firefox unless you dig deep into the privacy flags of the browser.
In the end, this debate on what browser to use will depend on your individual needs and preferences:
- Speed and few resources used with moderate privacy – Ungoogled
- A bit slower with more resources used but with better privacy – Firefox
There are also browsers like Opera GX, Brave, Edge, Vivaldi, etc. I have tried most of these and I stopped using them for purely personal reasons like: I did not like the interface, they used a lot of resources, my brain just said no, etc.
In short, based on my personal testing, Ungoogled Chromium is a great alternative to the massively infested standard Google Chrome and should be given a chance if you do care about resource management, browsing speed, and the moderate privacy bump.
My opinion is entirely subjective and you might really hate Ungoogled. You should use whatever browser fits your needs as explained above. I just felt the need to share this web browser that I think not many use or know about, since to me it is a great product that gives you a lot of freedom and modularity in the way you interact with the web.
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