Chrome is one of the shining lights of Google’s app suite – being the preferred browser for around half of all web users for its minimal interface and fast loading speeds – but that doesn’t mean it was first in line for a Material Design makeover. In fact, Chrome is one of the last Google apps to get a refresh, but its time has finally come.
There are quite a few changes being made to Chrome at the moment, but, as you may have guessed, with a browser this minimal there’s not all that much to change. The main changes so far include angular corners on tabs, an address bar redesign, new settings and download pages and new icons, bookmark bar and overflow menu. There’s also a new all-black Incognito interface and Chrome OS has a minimal new media player.
If you want to preview the changes for yourself, you can do so on a PC or in Chrome OS but they don’t work in OSX environments yet. Not all of the changes are viewable yet either, but they can still be found in Chrome’s issue tracker. All you need to do is change a few Chrome flags to enable Material Design features.
For example, if you want to get the new address bar, bookmark layout, overflow menu and navigation icons, just open Chrome and type in chrome://flags and use Ctrl+F to find all instances of Material Design. The one for these particular changes is called Enable Material Design in the browser’s top Chrome. Change the drop-down to Material and restart your browser.
If you want to check out the “more exciting” redesigned areas like Settings, it’s an even easier preview because it has already been incorporated into the stable release. Just open up a new tab and type in chrome://md-settings to see the new Material Design layout.
The new Downloads page isn’t in the stable channel yet, so you’ll have to switch the flag for that manually too. Go to chrome://flags and find the entry called Enable Material Design downloads, change the drop-down box to Enabled and restart your browser.
Most of the other changes like the Extensions page or black-themed Incognito page can be seen only in the issue tracker for now. The new Chrome OS media player is currently live and there are a whole bunch of other pages in the issue tracker that are being redesigned, so it shouldn’t be long until we see those roll out to the stable channel and eventually into the Android version.
For some reason I was unable to see the squared off corners on tabs and there are apparently new animations when buttons are clicked that I couldn’t see either. Feel free to enable the flags yourself let me know if you find anything else in the comments below.
What do you think of the new-look Chrome browser? Any other Material Design changes you could suggest?