marahmarie: Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell (Default)

I can't believe more people don't know you can run Chromium on Windows without having to peruse the dev channels or do funny packaging things to builds or whatever. It was a surprise to me too, and one that I stumbled upon quite by accident.

About ten minutes ago, while I was looking through several weeks worth of change logs on to see why Google Chrome runs just fine now after you delete every Google Update file and folder on your computer (normally Google Chrome won't even start if you delete those) I decided to download the mini_installer.exe out of abject curiosity, and lo and behold, I got a stripped-down version of Google Chrome that runs on Windows - without the Google Updater and spyware-like Google usage statistics collection.

It's just like SRWare Iron, as far as I can tell: no Google Update executables or folders, but unlike SRWare Iron, there are no preloaded German start pages in the Speed Dial window.

Of course, Chromium is pure Google source code no matter how you cut it. So is SRWare Iron; Google Chrome wouldn't be Google Chrome without Chromium source code, unfortunately.

Looking on the Web, I see only one reference to using the mini_installer.exe to install Chromium on Windows, and it's on Lifehacker, which in turn references the Google System blog, and it's tacked to the end of a very long post on how to customize Google Chrome. I don't know why everyone seems to want to keep a non-privacy-invading, non-auto-updating version of Chrome such a secret.

ETA: OK, never mind...Chromium seems to be missing the Google Update features, but not the snooping features. Using SRWare's comparison page as a guide on what to look for, I typed a non-existent URL into Chromium and got a Google Chrome error page, indicating Chromium might be sending DNS errors to Google just as Chrome does. And of course Chromium defaults to the Google home page, just as Chrome does. The other things to look for you can't look for, really, because Google performs those tasks in the background. On the plus side, Chromium doesn't add itself to the Windows Task Scheduler like Google Chrome does, but if you're after privacy you're still much better off using SRWare Iron, after all.

ETA 2: And of course, since Chromium doesn't include Google Update software, reading change logs on doesn't tell me anything, anyway. So now I'm trying to find the version of the code (I mean, the _exact_ version) that Google uses for Chrome, and I can't. I don't know if I'm missing something really obvious, but the latest build of this otherwise craptastic browser is now removing all the Google Update files and folders at uninstall that I talked about it leaving behind in my last post. And I can't find older builds now to compare the latest build against.

ETA 3: File Hippo, of all places, archives all of the old Chrome versions. ( Back to studying this crappy browser...