This week brings a new Material design refresh to several of the Chrome browser’s system pages. For many years, the history, bookmarks, settings, extensions, and downloads pages have sported a rather objectively ugly blue accent color, and while many of the other aspects of the browser have changed with the times, these pages have remained the same. With Google rolling out the Material You theming across Chrome for Android, and several of its other products as of late, it now seems it’s working from the inside out on Windows, macOS, and Chrome OS to bring Desktop Chrome into the fold.
With the developer flag ‘WebUI Branding Update’ on Chrome Beta and Canary, various UI components have been updated to have a more modern look. In light mode, Chrome will have all white pages as first discovered by Android Police earlier this week. In dark mode, the changes are much more subtle by color, but you’ll also notice that the page headers use larger, more bold typography. More notably, page headers now have iconography to help users identify them easier. Check out the screenshots below for the material refresh – I pulled dark mode screens, but once again, the changes are more substantial with light mode since the blue accent bars are all gone. Good riddance!
WebUI Branding Update
Changes various UI components in WebUI pages to have a more modern look. – Mac, Windows, Linux, Chrome OS#webui-branding-update
Search bars have also been rounded off instead of looking rectangular, and a bit more padding exists around elements of the UI, and so on. Ultimately, this Material Design update seems twofold – on one front, it’s meant to increase the accessibility and readability of everything across the browser’s internal pages, and on the other front, it looks like the company is prepping the desktop for a splash of Material You, but only time will tell.
I’ve already created a mock-up that shows off what Chrome OS could look like featuring Material You, Google’s highly personalized theming design language, but in it, I didn’t exactly show off how the browser itself would appear. I think it’s exciting to see Google touching up all of its older and more utilitarian pages and tools. It doesn’t seem like we’ll have to wait much longer for a major push toward Material You on Chrome for desktop and Chrome OS, but let me know if you agree in the comments!