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SRWare Iron — A Google Chrome Alternative

SRWare Iron Icon

UPDATE 2010-06-30: At the time of writing, the Mac version of Iron is not up-to-date and is probably insecure. I have stopped using it for now. Hopefully it can be kept up-to-date and patched to a schedule close to the normal Chromium releases in the future.

Google has come a long way since its humble beginnings in 1997 and now offer a huge array of online services. One of the criticisms often aimed at the company is centred around privacy. From searches you make on the search engine, to the contents of your email if you are a Gmail user — they have the ability to build up quite a detailed picture of what you do online.

Apparently, the Google Chrome browser itself also does various things which may impact privacy. The browser creates a unique client ID which is sent to Google when you do things such as type terms into the combined address and search bar, for example, and if the browser crashes, the technical information relating to that crash is sent to Google.

If you are someone concerned by the implications of this and maybe don’t trust Google very much, you may want to give SRWare Iron a try.

Iron is a browser based on the open source Chromium project which also powers Google Chrome, but with many of the potentially unwanted features that may impact privacy disabled.

This is a great example of open source code working well — it allows you to enjoy the benefits of the Chrome browser (the speed, interface and unique tab-as-process architectre) while side-stepping things you don’t want.

Screenshot of SRWare iron running on Mac OS X

Personally, I am not enormously bothered by the privacy issues and at the moment I’m pretty happy with a Safari/Firefox combination for my browsers of choice, but if you are looking for Google Chrome, without so much Google, this is worth a try.

You can download the browser from the SRWare website.

UPDATE: The Mac version can be downloaded from this forum post on the SRWare site.

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3 Comments

  1. Smudgy wrote:

    They’ve developed a so called privacy oriented browser that played on the paranoia of the general public for ad revenue as their prerogative all along.

    Did you know what the developer was quoted as saying? Google is Evil and the German people don’t like Google, well cool I’m not bothered with that, that’s all cool, I don’t personally trust Google either.

    Then what else do they now do, run Google Adsense on their site and support running Google banners on their startpage site also.

    Look, you call Google evil then you are seen supporting Google, what is that telling us? I’ll tell you, one big mixed bag of messages that should make you think real hard.

    So can this developer really be trusted and should we really support SRWare Iron.

    Well one thing is certain, until this developer starts flying right and shows us some of these true colors of mistrust towards Google, then it’s looking really fishy and this is all the real truth around here about this SRWARE Iron! :(

    Go research it and see for yourself!

    PEACE
    Das

    Friday, October 29, 2010 at 22:33 | Permalink | Using Google Chrome Google Chrome 7.0.520.0 on Windows Windows XP
  2. Peter wrote:

    My biggest concern now with SRWare Iron is that it doesn’t seem to be kept up-to-date with security patches. Google’s automatic updater might raise concerns, but having no updates happening at all is, in my opinion, much worse!

    Saturday, October 30, 2010 at 09:35 | Permalink | Using Mozilla Firefox Mozilla Firefox 3.6.12 on Mac OS X Mac OS X 10
  3. Robert H Patrick wrote:

    I cannot find a problem with using Iron; it is my browser-default. The version uses the extensions wisely; it also passed all security tests I threw at it WITHOUT A CRASH. I have lived long enough to recognize that performance such as Iron’s is fact not fiction or opinion. I will never use a google product, and since Iron uses it’s own method, that’s al I need, not an opinion because of “preference”

    Saturday, December 4, 2010 at 19:20 | Permalink | Using Google Chrome Google Chrome 7.0.520.1 on Mac OS X Mac OS X 10.5.8

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