I hope you’re a fan of change, because if you’re part of the 49% of Americans that use Chrome, the winds of change are blowing extra-hard. A new Chrome Material Design is coming as part of Chrome 69, a release that’s scheduled to land on September 4th.
According to Chrome Enterprise release notes spotted by The Verge, “Chrome Browser will have a new design across all operating systems. Highlights include Microsoft® Windows 10® notification-center integration, touchpad gesture navigation on Windows, and autofill updates.”
Users of the Chrome Canary browser have been able to play with the new Material Design UI for weeks now, and you can too if you want to try things out before Google throws you in at the deep end. The new design is turned on by default in Chrome Canary, so just download and install.
Material Design is Google’s name for a squarer, more flat design language that it’s been implementing across all of its products for the last year. Android has already received the changes, which moves towards a simplified design that’s supposed to be less cluttered.
In Chrome, the changes really mean a new tab shape, single tab mode, omnibox suggestion icons, tab strip coloring, pinned tabs, and alert indicators. It actually reminds me of the old Opera browser tab design.
If you want to try the new Material Design without downloading Chrome Canary, you can implement some of the changes on desktop and iOS right now, provided you’re on the current Chrome 68 release.
Chrome Desktop users:
- Type chrome://flags/#top-chrome-md in the address bar and press enter
- In the box next to UI Layout for the browser’s top chrome, choose Refresh
- Relaunch Chrome in order for the changes to take effect
Chrome iOS users:
- Type chrome://flags/#top-chrome-md in the address bar and tap Go
- Scroll down to UI Refresh Phase 1 and choose Enabled from the drop-down menu
- Reload the Chrome app to see the updated design