Yesterday, I was browsing Google News like I always do, and wishing it had a dark mode like I always do and felt my daily ping of disappointment…like I always do. Then, I refreshed the page and just like that, my eyes were finally saved from the burning white torch of light mode. Before my very eyes was the coveted dark mode!
Okay, I am being a tad dramatic, but for good reason. When the Google News “Android” app transformed into a PWA on the Google Play Store for Chromebooks, we lost dark mode with it and I was not happy. That was back in May and now and only now, it has returned. That’s six months without dark mode! I know, first world problems, right? Either way, when you have the ability to toggle it on and off and then lose it, it does create a major shift in the usability and comfort of the product.
If you’d like to toggle it on for yourself, that is, if it didn’t already happen automatically, then you can scroll down your news feed a bit to be met with this notice introducing the feature. Also, if you look on the left sidebar of the site, you will find the ‘Settings’ section near the bottom. Once you’re there, you will find a direct setting for Dark Mode.
Even more exciting is the fact that it’s set to ‘System default (when available)’, which means that if your system is set to dark mode, then the site will mimic that. Youtube recently received a similar setting and Google also tested a dark theme for Search this week. All of this points to their efforts to create a universal dark mode across their entire ecosystem so that when you tell your Chromebook to utilize it, every Google-branded website will respect that and follow suit. In fact, Google is also working on a way to change all of Chrome to dark mode, but they’re taking special care with their own websites and making sure they look perfect first.
My entitled complaints aside, the new Google News dark theme is not only easier on the eyes, but it’s also easier on your battery. With a universal dark theme across Chrome OS on top of the massive battery improvements that came with OS 87, I think that Google may one day bump up their estimate for battery life in their advertisements, just to show off a bit.