Google’s Chrome may finally be getting a long-awaited dark mode after Redditor “valtism” recently spotted the option on the browser’s Canary Channel, The Next Web reports. No other information was shared alongside an image of the browser’s home page but at least a few details may be ascertainable from the screen capture itself.
Since this is an initial built, there are also several obvious problems that need to be fixed. The sudden appearance of the dark mode feature in a beta channel nightly build also means it may not be added to the stable variant for users for some time. The next stable variation of Chrome is version 73, set to be launched in just over a month. So it seems more likely the dark mode will appear in version 74 of the software on desktop platforms and there will be plenty of time in the interim for those fixes to be coded in.
Bugs and possible problems
Based initial screenshots of the new mode, the most glaring problem is how closely it resembles the browser’s not-quite-private but still useful incognito mode. The dark mode uses what appears to be the same background and background tab colors as well as the same active tab coloration and the same schema for the URL bar and other elements. The theming keeps the mode familiar but issues could arise from just how familiar it is.
Incognito may be most useful as a way to log into various accounts without linking those to the user account that’s currently logged into Chrome. That’s makes it invaluable for letting guests sign in to check accounts, among other things. The almost identical color scheme of the first iteration of dark mode could cause confusion for those who frequently use the mode and who want to use a dark mode.
Google could change the standard color configuration for Incognito mode when the dark mode is active or could add more visual cues, but there’s currently no indication that will be the case. Users may ultimately be left to determine which of the two they are using based on the standard but less obvious visual indicators such as the fedora-wearing incognito icon and blank user profile thumbnail.
Another glaring issue is the contrast between icons and text on background tabs and other areas of the UI. In background tabs, those elements appear unusually dim but subtext for frequented pages typically shown below the home page’s search bar is all but invisible. This is an early build so that will almost certainly be fixed before the final roll-out but the same dark text also reportedly appears in the menus.
Both of those issues act to further highlight just how much work still needs to be done.
Consistency across platforms
Chrome for desktop isn’t the only place a dark mode is currently in the works. While previous reports had hinted that the mode wasn’t a priority for Google, a dark mode has not only showed up in code repositories and other official sources for Windows 10 — and now Chrome OS and other desktop platforms. Evidence has strongly suggested the same mode is on the way for Android.
The chief goal at this point is probably for the search giant to not only work out any bugs that might be present from the changes, including those seen with on-screen text. It is almost certainly taking its time to ensure that dark mode on Android is consistent with the same mode on desktop platforms and its own Chrome operating system.