Many web browsers are based on the open source Chromium web browser. There is Google Chrome obviously, Opera and Vivaldi, and many, many more including Yandex Browser, SRWare Iron, Slimjet or UC Browser.
All of these browsers are based on Chromium, but how fast are they updated when a new Chromium version is published? Is Chrome really the fastest to get these updates, or are other browser makers even faster than Google?
Do some browsers lack behind when it comes to updates? A delay in regards to security updates may increase the browser's attack vector when you are using it for instance.
In short: we take a look at the past four months, and find out when popular Chromium-based browsers got updated in that time. Note that we included only stable browsers in the overview. This means that a browser like Brave is not included (yet) for instance.
Chromium browser update history
You can check the Chromium version in most of these browsers by loading chrome://version (or about://version).
- 17.5.2017 -- Comodo Dragon -- Chromium 57.0.2987.93
- 10.5.2017 -- Opera 45 -- Chromium 58.0.3029.110
- 09.05.2017 -- Chrome 58 -- 58.0.3029.110
- 03.05.2017 -- SRWare Iron -- 58.0.3050.0
- 02.05.2017 -- Chrome 58 -- 58.0.3029.96
- 27.04.2017 -- Vivaldi 1.9 -- Chromium 58.0.3029.82
- 19.04.2017 -- Slimjet 14.0 -- Chromium 57
- 19.04.2017 -- Chrome 58 -- Chromium 58.0.3029.81
- 29.03.2017 -- Vivaldi 1.8 -- Chromium 57.0.2987.111
- 29.03.2017 -- Chrome 57 -- Chromium 57.0.2987.133
- 27.03.2017 -- SRWare Iron -- Chromium 57.0.3000.0
- 23.03.2017 -- Comodo Dragon -- Chromium 55.0.2883.59
- 21.03.2017 -- Opera 44 -- Chromium 57.0.2987.74
- 16.03.2017 -- Chrome 57 -- Chromium 57.0.2987.110
- 09.03.2017 -- SRWare Iron -- Chromium 56.0.2950.1
- 09.03.2017 -- Chrome 57 -- Chromium 57.0.2987.98
- 28.02.2017 -- UC Browser 6.1 -- Chromium 50.0.2661.102
- 08.02.2017 -- Vivaldi 1.7 -- Chromium 56.0.2924.88
- 07.02.2017 -- Opera 43 -- Chromium 56
- 01.02.2017 -- Chrome 56 -- Chromium 56.0.2942.97
A look at the results
If you take a close look at the table, you will notice that third-party Chromium-based browsers lack behind more or less when it comes to updates.
The biggest "lagger" is UC Browser, which was last updated in February 2017 to a Chromium version that was released in April 2016.
Other browsers don't lag that much behind releases, but they are not updated super fast either. The Comodo Dragon browser falls in that category which seems to lag one or two versions behind the browsers that get updated more frequently.
Opera, Vivaldi and also SRWare Iron are updated regularly (usually once a month), and each update brings along with it a Chromium version increase.
While the updates are not as often as those of Google Chrome, it is probably not too big of an issue. Google Chrome is updated more frequently, and when it is updated, it is with newer builds of Chromium when compared to the releases of Vivaldi or Opera.
There is a wide disparity when it comes to Chromium-browser releases. Some browsers are updated infrequently only, and they may lack versions behind when compared to releases of browsers that are updated regularly.
This is bad from a security perspective for the most part, as security fix implementations are delayed. This means that the browser is vulnerable to attacks that are fixed already in other browsers.
A rule of thumb would be that a browser should be updated at least once a month to keep up with Chromium development. Anything less means that it will lag behind and remains vulnerable to security issues that were fixed already by the Chromium team.
Now You: Do you run a Chromium based browser? Which and why?