Google’s Chrome browser is finally getting a much-needed overhaul, and curious users can try it out right now.
It’s available on the developers’ platform Canary for Chrome OS, Linux, and Windows, although Google cautions that there could be crashes as they work out bugs and other issues.
Early adopters using MacOS can try it too; they simply need to set some experimental flags to try out the new features after downloading the browser.
The updated Chrome will see big changes in tab shapes. There’s a rounded address bar, along with new tab strip colouring, alert indicators, pinned tabs, ombinox suggestion icons, and a single tab mode. Users will also note a brighter colour palette, and the active tab and the window around it will be shaded white rather than the current grey. While there hasn’t been a specific announcement about speed increases, people who have tried the browser report that it seems faster than the current version.
The user interface, although improved, won’t be too unfamiliar to fans of the browser, and users will still be able to download and install themes through the Chrome Web Store. Other changes may come before the official release based on the feedback they receive during development.
Google focusing on Material Design
The redesigned Chrome is part of the Material Design push by Google. The Material Design toolkit is part of the firm’s endeavor to unify the user interface throughout Google’s suite of products.
“Material Design is inspired by the physical world and its textures, including how they reflect light and cast shadows. Material surfaces reimagine the mediums of paper and ink,” Google said.
Gmail and Google Calendar have already been given makeovers to bring them in line with Material Design.
This isn’t the first time that Google has adjusted Chrome’s user interface, but this new look marks the most dramatic redesign since the browser was launched ten years ago. Almost every major element has been given a facelift.
It is not yet known when Google will build the update into its main Chrome browser. Known for its snappy response times and ease of use, it easily outpaces other browsers in terms of popularity.
Google also recently added a new security feature to the browser that will make it more difficult for malicious websites to launch Spectre-style attacks on people and steal their passwords and data from sites they have open in other tabs within the same browser.