Iron Browser: A Secure Alternative to Google Chrome

For those who are tempted to use Google Chrome, but are concerned about your privacy being recorded by Google, you can stop worrying now. Iron browser is an exact clone of Google Chrome, without the privacy annoyance features.

Iron browser is developed by a German software company SRWare. It is based on the open source Chromium source code and has the same feature as Chrome. What makes it different is that all the privacy features, such as Client ID, Google update, Google suggest are stripped off and it is able to provide a more secure environment for its users.

Here is a comparison of both Iron and Chrome’s privacy settings:

ProblemChromeIron
Client-IDChrome creates a unique ID through which a user can be theoretically identified.does not exist in Iron
TimestampChrome remembers up to the second exactly when the software was installed.does not exist in Iron
SuggestDepending on the configuration, each time you put something in the address line,this information is sent to Google to provide suggestions.does not exist in Iron
Alternate Error PagesDepending on the configuration, if you have typed a false address in the address bar, this is sent to Google and you get an error message from Google’s servers.does not exist in Iron
Error ReportingDepending on the configuration, details about crashes or failures are sent Google’s servers.does not exist in Iron
RLZ-TrackingThis Chrome-function transmits information in encoded form to Google, for example, when and where Chrome has been downloaded.does not exist in Iron
Google UpdaterChrome installs a updater, which loads at every Windows in background.does not exist in Iron
URL-TrackerCalls depending on the configuration five seconds after launch the Google homepage opens in backgrounddoes not exist in Iron

Features

Iron browser has the exact same features as Chrome. You can pull out tabs to new windows, open browser in Incognito mode, search from the URL bar and almost everything else that exists in Chrome.

Portable version

Together with the desktop version, SRWare also released a portable version of the Iron browser that you can install on your USB drive and bring it wherever you go. Simply download the portable version and run the exe file in your thumb drive. No admin rights needed.

Ad blocker

One of the useful features found in Iron, but not Google Chrome, is the ability to block ads, much like the Adblock Plus extension in Firefox. Download the adblock.ini file and replace the file with the same name in the IronBrowser main directory. Restart the browser. It should automatically block hundreds of advertisers, including the popular Google’s Adsense and Yahoo’s YPN, from appearing now.

Iron browsing blocking ads

iron-blocking-ad

Google Chrome showing ads

chrome-with-ad

If you love Google Chrome for its slickness and features, but are very much concerned about Google collecting your data, Iron browser would definitely be a good alternative. The stable installer and the portable version are currently available for Windows only. The version for Linux and Mac is still at alpha testing stage and are not suitable for production use. Linux enthusiasts who wanted to test it can download the file here.

18 comments

  1. What about chromium itself? Contains it the “bad google-code”, or is ist just Chrome that wants to collect my data?

  2. …an article about keeping google’s paws of your private stuff and this website runs google analytics…

  3. It’s brave that you show Iron blocking ads on your own website ;-)

    Personally, I don’t block ads anyway because I know they support the websites I use. I hope others feel the same way and don’t block ads on websites that are using them responsibly.

    Thanks for this tip off about Iron. I stopped using Chrome and removed it from my machine because of the installation issues (can’t choose install location, components not properly removed, breaks system if you remove a Windows profile before uninstalling Chrome from it), components hanging around in memory including multiple copies of Google Update (different versions).

    I hadn’t even thought about the above privacy issues.

    I was hoping Google would release a version with all these issues ironed out but Iron (inadvertent pun!) seems to me to be the browser Google should have made.

    Google seem to be sticking to their guns on this so I won’t be using Chrome any time soon now I have this alternative.

    I am sending this info (and a link to your page) to everyone I know. Thanks.

    • Yea, I agree. I don’t block ads either. I click on one of their ads if they’ve got adsense as my way of saying thank you to the website owner if the site has helped me. Figured I’d give them a “donation” or “tip” that way for providing me what I was looking for. For those that don’t have adsense but have amazon ads or something, I’ll post a comment of thanks. For those that have a PayPal donation button and none of the others, then I’ll make a small donation of thanks. However, not many sites have PayPal donation buttons on them. So I’ll do one of the other options like clicking on an ad.

  4. Does Iron also protect us against google.com cookies??
    If so then i’m dropping Opera right here and now :D

    Since Iron is also OpenSource there’s no longer any reason
    to use Firefox either :P

    And finally i’m hoping for a future ChromeIronOS.
    Only thing missing to convert the Windows users is
    a 320$ price tag and adding the name Ultime Edition at
    the end. hehe
    Seriously. Try it!

  5. So is there any alternative for Win2000 users? I’ve got Win2000 and WinXP both on my system and use Win2000 more than WinXP. So is there an alternative browser for Win2000 that’s just as good as IronBrowser or Google’s Chrome?

  6. You say:

    Download the adblock.ini file and replace the file with the same name in the IronBrowser main directory”.

    Excellent. Download it from WHERE?

    • The link is already in the article. You just need to right-click and save the link as adblock.ini

  7. Well, no point in staying subscribed to this site’s feed if my questions are just going to go ignored. Oh well. Opted out. Bye.

  8. Actually, I found the list elsewhere and they stated it was a copy and paste thing. Once I did, it worked and works like a champ.

  9. Do you guys know how can I install it on Fedora 12 64-bit? I am a Fedora beginner.

    I get the following:

    [otomen@linux ~]$ cd /home/knight/Downloads/iron-linux-64
    [otomen@linux iron-linux-64]$ ./iron
    ./iron: error while loading shared libraries: libbz2.so.1.0: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory

    There are no libbz2 in the repositories…

    • @Otomen: That mean you are missing a libbz2.so.1.0 file in your system. You may want to google around for this file.

  10. Iron has replaced firefox for me. I loved firefox but all versions after version 2 has been so slow and slugish, and just a pain to use even the new 3.6 version which is supposed to be fastest yet is just as slow as every version since version 3.0 . As for Google Chrome? ha ha what a laugh. Yea I want people collecting my data like a spyware program does. Thats why I pay money for spyware malware security so another program can steal my info LOL. Iron I think is the best thing since High speed internet. Every single chrome extension works with Iron which is great. And there is no need to download adblock.ini and copy it all you have to do now is download adblock or adblock plus ext. which is now available for Chrome and Iron. There is now lots of extensions for Iron and chrome. Extensions such as 3 different Weather ones I use the accu weather one and there is google translate, adblock , adblock plus , A flash video downloader that works with youtube and google video and all others. Too much for me to list now the extension have grown quick.

  11. If you don’t want to use Iron because you can’t use products like CC Cleaner on it.
    Well now you can use CC Cleaner on Iron Browser. On the CC Cleaner forum there is a link with directions on how to get the plugin. Just search the forum for Iron Browser. It will be a ini File to edit it is easy. SO in the words of Jack Torrence GO CHECK IT OUT!

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