Ungoogled-chromium is a Chromium variant "for removing Google integration and enhancing privacy, control, and transparency".

You thought Chromium did that anyway? So did we, but the "ungoogled-chromium" developer says:

"A number of features or background services communicate with Google servers despite the absence of an associated Google account or compiled-in Google API keys. Furthermore, the normal build process for Chromium involves running Google's own high-level commands that invoke many scripts and utilities, some of which download and use pre-built binaries provided by Google. Even the final build output includes some pre-built binaries."

To fix this, ungoogled-chromium uses "a set of configuration flags, patches, and custom scripts" to do the following:

  • Disable or remove offending services and features that communicate with Google or weaken privacy
  • Strip binaries from the source tree, and use those provided by the system or build them from source
  • Add, modify, or disable features that inhibit control and transparency (these changes are minor and do not have significant impacts on the general user experience)

This has some very far-reaching consequences. For example, removing all the Google code means you don't have the Webstore plugin, so can't install extensions from the store. Instead you have to follow some awkward workarounds, such as downloading a CRX manually and dragging and dropping it onto the extensions tab.

You also don't get Google's own Flash player, so will have to install Adobe's version or do without it.

And Safe Browsing is disabled, too, as it communicates with Google's servers to download the blacklists.

If you can live with this, there's no doubt that ungoogled-chromium does much more to protect your privacy than similar projects. And it has other tweaks you might like, too, including disabling onbeforeunload events (no more annoying dialog boxes which appear when a page is being closed) and forcing all pop-ups into tabs.

Verdict

It's not just a name- ungoogled-chromium really does strip every trace of Google from the browser. This has some major implications (no web store to install extensions so you have to do it manually, safe browsing disabled), but if you're determined to stay Google-free then it still might appeal, and there are a few other welcome tweaks and changes as well.