Google tests dark mode for web content in Chrome for Android
Dark interface modes seem to be en vogue currently. While there has always been a group of users who prefer dark interfaces and designs over light ones, it seems that software companies just started to introduce dark themes to their programs only recently.
Google is working on a dark theme for Chrome and YouTube, Microsoft is adding dark mode support to more and more apps of Windows 10, there is a Night mode on Twitter, and Firefox comes with a native dark theme as well.
Google’s work in integrating a dark design for the company’s Chrome browser continues, but that is not keeping the company from experimenting with other dark mode options.
The recent version of Chrome Canary for Android comes with a new experimental flag to enable a dark mode; this time, however, not for the browser user interface but for web content.
Note that experimental flags may or may not make it natively in the browser, for instance as an option. They may be pulled at any time again without notification.
Changing the color scheme of websites from light to dark is not a new feature. Firefox users could install an extension like Blackout in 2009 to change a site’s color scheme, and Chrome users can invert colors on sites with Hacker Vision.
The Chrome experiment “Android web contents dark mode” enables dark modes for any site you visit. Actually, what you get is an invert mode that seems to invert the color scheme of the site.
So, if you visit a light site it is turned into a dark one, but if you visit a dark site, it is changed into a darker one.
Google’s native implementation in Chrome for Android inverts colors everywhere. Means, the feature inverts not only text, menu and background colors but also the majority of images.
Some elements are not inverted. If you watch videos on YouTube or any other streaming site, you will notice that these play with their original colors and not inverted.
Setting it up
The feature is only available in Chrome for Android currently.
- Load chrome://flags in the Chrome address bar.
- Search for Android web contents dark mode (or just dark mode).
- Toggle the status of the experiment to Enabled.
- Restart the Chrome browser.
There is certainly a market for extensions that change the color scheme of sites. I’m not sure if the niche is big enough for Google to implement the functionality natively in its Android browser.