Even before the Google Material Theme was showcased at I/O 2018, the Chrome team has been working on a big redesign for the browser that shares many similarities like rounded corners and stark white backgrounds. Available on both desktop and mobile, this “Material Design refresh” is now scheduled to begin rolling out in September with Chrome 69.
This “new design across all operating systems” is briefly mentioned in Enterprise release notes for Chrome 69. Simply titled “Browser interface changes,” the changelog does not detail what’s new, but it’s highly likely to be the long in-development “Material Design refresh” for desktops and “Modern Design” on Android.
Beyond visual changes, several features like notification center integration and touchpad gestures are slated for Windows. Chrome 69 is scheduled to hit the stable channel for Mac, Windows, and Linux on September 4th, while Android usually follows a few days later.
Tablet and convertible Chrome OS devices received the new design with Chrome 67 and 68, and other non-touch devices should receive similar updates with version 69. The exact release schedule has not been detailed, with a slower sever-side roll out possible.
Browser interface changes
Chrome Browser will have a new design across all operating systems. Highlights include Microsoft® Windows 10® notification-center integration, touchpad gesture navigation on Windows, and autofill updates.
For desktops, the changes focus on the browser’s “top chrome,” namely the row of tabs. Instead of sharp and angular corners, tabs are now rounded at the top left and right, as well as the bottom in how they slope into the rest of the bar. To better emphasize the current page you’re viewing, other tabs lose their outline and are visually separated only with a short line. Similarly, the new tab “plus” icon loses the well-defined button.
Immediately below that is a pill-shaped address bar with very rounded corners to the left and right. The dropdown of search suggestions and URLs only span the length of the Omnibox rather than the page’s full-width.
An avatar for the current account you are logged into is to the right of the address bar instead of the top corner and features an avatar icon rather just your name. Meanwhile, the overflow menu features similarly rounded corners. The enter interface is stark white, similar to the bright backgrounds in the Google Material Theme.
Many of these changes are also present on Android with a pill-shaped Omnibar that matches the now rounded icons. The status bar is stark white to match the rest of the app bar, thus resulting in a clean merged look.
The overflow menu features rounded corners while the tab switcher is now horizontal to match Android 9 Pie’s Recents menu. There’s also a revamped “New tab” page where a pill-shaped search bar is present, with favicons now rounded.
How to enable
The redesign can be enabled now by entering the Chrome flag URLs below into the address bar and selecting the appropriate option from the dropdown menu. To get the latest features be sure to enable them in Chrome Beta 69.
Mac, Windows, Linux: