Lately, dark mode has been all the rage in software UI design. We’ve seen a system-wide dark mode being added in the Android Q betas, and more and more Google apps are getting an integrated dark mode. It comes as no surprise then that the latest betas for Google Chrome have included a native dark mode as well.
The initial dark mode implementation simply consisted of theming its own UI elements. Version 74 of Chrome added a flag to force the contents of webpages to use a dark theme, but it lacked a full implementation. A more recent update added a full dark theme implementation for webpages as well as Chrome’s own UI. The implementation, however, was a little overaggressive. Some images were inverted as part of it, and as a result, sites could look quite strange.
A new update, currently available in the Canary update channel, improves upon the dark mode on webpages. Twitter user @TotalSecurily tipped us off about the update. Below is a comparison between Chrome Stable (v75) and Chrome Canary (v77).
In the example of the XDA website, we can see a few of the changes. The status bar and URL bar are now dark grey instead of bright XDA orange. The XDA toolbar has also been switched to light grey from the original dark color, which shows there is still room for improvement. In the content of the article, we can see Chrome 77 didn’t invert the Pixel 4 photo, the text is slightly darker, and the article info bar is slightly darker as well. Overall, it looks a lot better.
Google finally taking note of users’ wants and needs is undoubtedly a step in the right direction. Previously, we were forced to use third-party extensions for Chrome, like Dark Reader. For Android, we had to rely on OEMs own implementation of system-wide dark themes, and there was no real option available to make Chrome dark-themed. At the moment, dark mode for Chrome remains very much in beta, despite being in the stable release of Chrome. Hopefully, it’s not long before fixes like this are pushed to the stable release. In the meantime, it may be better to stick to tried and tested alternatives such as the aforementioned Dark Reader.
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