In February, a Chromium commit revealed that Google was working on “Material Design 2” as part of a Chrome interface revamp. It now appears that the mention was somewhat inaccurate, with the entry only referring to a touch-friendly version of the browser. However, Material Design 2 is still being developed and could come as soon as this year.

XDA today spotted an updated Chromium commit that provides more clarification. Namely, how the Material Design 2 name was misused last February and only referring to a general revamp of the Chrome interface to be more touch friendly.

This latter “touchable chrome” can be enabled in the Canary channel now, with the most obvious changes on Windows where convertible devices with touchscreens are more prevalent. On Mac, this UI — even with the flag enabled — is unchanged.

Right off the bat, we saw the desktop browser adopt the round Omnibar we’ve seen on Android and the new tab button is now a circle, with elements larger in general for easier tapping.

UI Layout for the browser’s top chrome

Toggles between 1) Normal – for clamshell devices, 2) Hybrid (previously touch) – middle point for devices with a touch screen, 3) Touchable – new unified interface for touch and convertibles (Chrome OS) and 4) Material Design refresh. – Mac, Windows, Linux, Chrome OS


Despite this clarification, a “full-scale MD2 design is also in the works,” according to the commit. One Googler notes that Material Design 2 is “still being designed and won’t look like this in any case.”

A possible release date was slipped with one entry referring to the “Chrome Birthday deck.” Deck is likely in reference to a presentation (or slide deck) where Google has detailed work on the “full-scale MD2 design” for the September 2nd anniversary of Chrome’s launch.

This year also happens to be the decade mark since the browser’s 2008 launch. We are still several months away from the fall, while we are similarly far away from Android P’s final design which might provide a greater hint of Google’s future design direction.

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Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: