While Chrome 50 started rolling out to the desktop browser last week, there had been no word about the expected Material Design refresh. Now, as detailed by a Google designer, Chrome OS will be the first to get the design revamp.
Material Design has been in the works for a year and involves a complete revamp of how Core UI is implemented. Specifically, Google notes that Material’s “flatter, sharper, and lighter design” was a “huge engineering feat” with Chrome, noting that the browser is “now rendered fully programmatically including iconography, effectively removing the ~1200 png assets we were maintaining before. It also allows us to deliver a better rendering for a wide range of PPI configuration.”
Other changes include:
- New default theme.
- Complete overhaul of the Incognito theme with a new dark color.
- Complete revamp of tab shapes, icons, and omnibox to match mobile.
- Introducing Material Design ripples and morphing buttons states.
- New color, more accessible color scheme.
- New info bars and buttons.
In addition, there is a hybrid alternate layout that is more comfortable for touch-enabled and convertible devices that are a particularly popular form factor for Chromebooks. The hybrid theme will be activated by default on touchscreen Chromebooks, but users on all devices can enable it by going to chrome://flags if they want a slightly more spacious UI.
It makes sense that Material Design is first coming to Chrome OS. Over the past few versions, various apps, like files and video, have been given a Material refresh. The post notes that Material Design on Chrome for Mac and Windows are still a “work in progress”, but users can enable the “Material design in the browser’s top chrome” flag to see the latest version.
Version 50 of Chrome OS should be rolling out any day now.