Firefox Vs Chromium (privacy-wise)

Can somebody please explain to me why Firefox is more preferred over Chromium?

google <–noun, not verb

(iow, use starpage.com to search that term and Alphabet too might broaden perspective on why/how the goog is notsoprivacyfriendly;)

1 Like

to be fair, there is ungoogled-chromium

err. maybe it’s “Uncloudium” now? :worried:

1 Like

As far as I can tell, using Ungoogled Chromium or a Chromium-based browser like Brave has no significant privacy-related drawbacks. In fact they arguably have better security overall which is why I use Brave as a “daily driver”.

But there’s non-privacy related reasons people like Firefox. Some people think Blink (and WebKit in general) has a monopoly on the browser engines, and adoption of Chromium will lead to an internet that is controlled mainly by Google devs, even though it’s open source. That’s certainly a valid concern.

Some people would rather support a non-profit foundation that is dedicated to building an internet and browser that “people before profit” rather than a corporation that is dedicated to serving and selling advertisements.

And some people have the (in my opinion, misguided) opinion that everything Google touches is automatically terrible and/or evil and would never use it.

I think as long as you’re not literally using Google Chrome, you’re fine for the most part.

However, I would recommend against Ungoogled Chromium for most users because it doesn’t auto-update. I would also recommend against any Firefox forks for most users, as they’re typically less well maintained and if they auto-update they lag behind Firefox proper, which is mainly a concern with regard to security updates.

4 Likes

Yep, this is probably the main reason people say chromium < firefox

1 Like

Yup that’s pretty much the main reason, Google.

I am one of those people that stays away from anything remotely Google, but in many cases, for most people, Chromium is probably fine.

1 Like

Firefox can be tweaked alot more than Chromium especially on Android.
Other than Chrome, afaik chromium and forks can’t sync.
I think out of the box Firefox probably phones home more than chromium.
I do use Bromite on both my Android devices, and on my rooted tablet I also use the bromite system webview.
Once I get back running a Linux laptop will be back to using nothing but Firefox.
For the truly paranoid on Linux and Android their is GNU Icecat that removes all of the telemetry from Firefox.

1 Like

Chromium can sync with Google, same as Chrome. The Ungoogled Chromium fork probably can’t, but I’ve never used it. Brave (which is also a Chromium fork) can sync with their own sync engine. It’s less of an impossibility and more that a few major forks choose not to implement sync. Especially because few of them have mobile clients which is where the most useful syncing direction is, desktop to mobile and vice versa.

You gotta clarify if you’re talking about Chromium or Ungoogled Chromium. I highly doubt Chromium phones home less than Firefox by default, because it’s basically Chrome sans branding, but Ungoogled Chromium is probably nicer than Firefox out of the box because it doesn’t come with a ton of bloatware like Firefox does.

I am one of the people who strongly advocate that people use either Firefox or Tor Browser. Forget all other forks of Firefox.

The reason for this is, as Jonah mentioned, the hold that Google has over web standards because of market share and engine monoculture.

This allows them to wield power to shut down standards and de-facto standards that they don’t like, such as Do Not Track, and potentially even ad-blocking entirely (see the web manifest fiasco). It also allows them to promote the adoption of standards that invade our privacy, such as AMP and Ping Tracking.

If Firefox, or Microsoft with their Chromium fork, were to go against these standards, a vast swathe of users of these browsers would become incompatible or have a degraded experience, starting with Google’s dominant web properties. This is due to the low market share of these browsers, allowing web devs to ignore them or exclude them.

In terms of how the choice of browser engine impacts this, Microsoft specifically chose Chromium to increase web compat and reduce costs. This means that Microsoft now is incentivized to follow decisions that Google makes in order to preserve web compat and prevent budget blowouts and technical debt. If Microsoft were using a different engine, this wouldn’t be an issue as web compat is a fundamental feature of having a different browser engine and would be built into the goals of the technical team, expectations of management and executives, as well as their budget.

Firefox doesn’t have these perverse engine-based incentives, and doesn’t have the pressures of invasive monetisation of users due to a corporate structure with institutional shareholders either. It is an independent non-profit not heavily tied to one corporation, which really adds another level of structural protection.

4 Likes

I second @craigevil’s argument.

@s4cure Just open about:config and see for yourself, how much stuff you can tweak in Firefox. There are well known hardening scripts such as gHacks user.js, just read their wiki and you will be amazed, how many settings there are in a browser that can be used for tracking and fingerprinting - and you have no control over this with any Chromium-based browser.

guilty of no-trust in google and supportive of any safe alternate browser, with personal preference and recommendations going toward open internals and privacy respecting out of the box design.
otherwise I view it as google being guilty of fully informed consent violation and have doubts we’ll ever learn of all the points of data google collects globally and regionally, which it no doubt uniquely identifies folks with. IOW exactly what and who it is all shared with, how it is used, protected and how long it is kept all play a part in my rejection of google products and services overall. Cut me on the profit? nah, just stop monetizing me like I’m a product peddled to the lowest bidder. am I a hypocrite? yes, for I do not hold mozilla foundation to the same standard and do tolerate some stuff from them but also do enjoy more easy access to tweaks and internals and a seemingly more engaged community of ‘hacking firefox’ exposing better security and privacy safeguards to use.

also, again to be fair to the topic, ref:

about:flags (similar to FF about:config also see cmdline switches/flags for more info on flags)
about:chrome-urls (should be a list of links to all internal pages, iirc, like this: chrome://about

I’m aware of about:flags in Chromium, but it’s just not compehensive enough (by a wide margin) in comparison to Firefox, especially privacy-wise.

1 Like

When it comes to out-of-box features, Opera and Vivaldi are way better than Chrome or any other Chromium based browsers. Thour privacy wise, Opera might be even worse than Chrome, while Vivaldi is ok. Probably not as good as Brave, but it would be my Chromium-based browser of choise, if Firefox is not an option.

When it comes to sync, all of them have it, at least for PC version, but I use Bitwarden for password sync, Floccus for bookmarks sync, and for settings, I can always backup profiles, but even if I start from scratch, it doesn’t take much time to configure it.

Yeah chrome://flags/ is more of an experimental features toggle page. about:flags on Firefox is a more convoluted Windows-Registry-esque settings panel, but it lets you change pretty much everything, which is great.

yes, and fwiw chrome:// is interchangeable with about: for those internal pages, but for sure hardly holds a candle to what FF shows/allows. You also made very valid concern point about ungoogled-chromium needing to be maintained/upgraded by user manually and how simple it is to overlook leading to potential of disastrous results.


(below is not directed at anyone in thread, just more my stinkin opinion:p)

On the topic of alternatives built on blink/chrome/chromium engine base, and since trying to build from source ungoogled-chromium was 3x Fail for me (admitting a couple months since last attempt), so I’ve been working with hardening Vivaldi (great set of user prefs, but a hardcoded call home/check in angers me). and more recently added Iridium browser as another (FF/IC backup) option I’ve been playing with. (actually wondering why Iridium is not listed with Brave on PTIO pages, mostly due to:

…and Brave :angry: I doubt I’ll ever trust simply due to adding in hardcoded whitelisted trackers (facebook and twitter!) some 3 years ago and until recent exposure they never even addressed it nor made any change to the “temporary” fix as they called it “to keep websites from breaking”, and certainly failed to inform users or get consent (Opt In, at least, or allow disable easily clear option).
Still not sure if they removed the internal whitelist, regardless to me it is a direct violation of trust and counter to the bold brave claims made frontpage which states:
“You are not a product. Why use a browser that treats you like one? Enjoy private, secure and fast browsing with Brave.”

and perhaps their openness about Brave Rewards, Brave Wallet, Brave Ads, Brave Payments, Intent SIgnals, (BAT, etc) Opt Ins is cool for folks, and I’m ok with ads that are not targetted (click and track based), but to whitelist trackers, any (3p) tracker, ever, is sacrilegious to community they seduce and in direct conflict with the brave bold statements made on their front most facing page.

Privacy is a tough sell in the trenches (friends, family, coworkers) and truth be told I’d rather see a switch to Brave (with real good out of the box security and a healthy continuing dev) than stay on chrome/chromium.

lastly, and sadly, as an early adopter/user from way back when- I see current Opera browser as insane to trust nowadays. (me) Just say no.

1 Like

Definitely, it is unfortunate. They really went downhill when they were purchased by Chinese investors and switched to Chromium. Ah well.

1 Like

@s4cure chromium still has google blobs embedded. its not safe. at least use Brave if you need chromium based. they removed some (all?) of the blobs.

Unfortunately I need chrome for specific reasons. But often I use