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[Update: Gallery] Google Search A/B testing full desktop dark mode

While night modes are pervasive on Android and iOS, they are less common on large screen form factors. Google is now A/B testing a dark mode for Search on desktop web.

Update 1/29/21: Since appearing last month, testing on this desktop web dark theme for Google Search continues. More and more users have briefly encountered it over the past few weeks, while we experienced it for a prolonged period last night on Chrome for Mac that spanned several queries and did not disappear after one search.

This darker look notably extends to the iconic homepage (as seen above). In our testing, there are one or two visual bugs with the night-friendly appearance involving missing lines and shadows. Overall, it’s similar to the mobile counterpart and works as expected. During the testing phase, there is no switch to turn it off.

Original 12/12/20: Back in May, Chrome added a flag to “Show darkened search pages on Android.” The result was a near-identical experience to using the Google Search app.

Google is now A/B testing a native dark theme for desktop Search. The white background switches to a dark gray hue that matches first-party mobile apps. Google’s logo is white instead of being multi-colored — though the microphone icon is unchanged, while the gray outline of the search field is reversed. The usually colorful icons representing the different filters (All, Images, News, etc.) are just blue, with the tab accent color similar. 

Black text is now gray, while a different shade of blue is leveraged for page names/links. This look does not extend to the homepage, while users were not presented with a setting to disable given that this is only a test. 

Very few of Google’s desktop webpages feature a dark theme. Highlights are YouTube, YouTube TV, and (by default) YouTube Music, as well as Google Keep.

This test of a dark mode for Google Search on the web is not widely rolled out, with only a handful of users encountering it. The screenshots here are from Windows 10 in both Chrome and Firefox. 

Thanks Eithan

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Avatar for Abner Li Abner Li

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