Google brings Material-style color themes to Chrome for desktop

The latest version of Canary from Google Chrome includes a nifty feature that automatically chooses a color scheme for the browser based on the background that appears when you open a new tab. It was the first feature Spotted by u/Leopeva64-2 on Reddit, which shows how changing the background of the new tab automatically adjusts the color scheme of the browser’s address bar and interface. It was previously possible to manually change Chrome’s color scheme to one of your choice, but this simplifies the process.

According to Google, the feature “allows you to set the appearance color based on the background image color when you change the background image on a new tab page,” and is available on Mac, Windows, and Linux operating systems, as well as Google’s own ChromeOS and Fuchsia operating systems.

We were able to turn on the “Customize Chrome Color Extraction” feature in version 110 of the Canary version of Chrome (specifically 110.0.5418.0) to test it ourselves. They seem to work best with more colorful backgrounds, while dark backgrounds tend to make the Chrome interface a muddy black, brown, or gray color — and there’s not much improvement over the default color scheme. We were able to get it working with Google’s own wallpapers, although the automatic color customization option didn’t work when we uploaded our own image. It is unclear whether this is a bug or by design.

The feature is not enabled by default. Alternatively, if you want to give it a try, you’ll need to enable the Chrome flag “chrome://flags/#custom-chrome-color-extraction.” Once it’s up and running, open a new Chrome tab, click the pen icon at the bottom right of the new tab window, and select a new background to see its color scheme reflect on the Chrome interface. Once you select a wallpaper, the color scheme continues across different tabs as you browse the web.

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There’s no word on whether or when the feature will be widely rolled out, but since it’s currently a subscription feature in the Canary version of Google Chrome (which is its first beta version), we don’t expect it to have a widespread launch for long. Not less than a few months.

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