Every app these days seems to have a new dark mode or one in development. This is due in part to the appearance a slick black background can give but also due to recent research from Google that shows darker colors use up less battery power on devices with OLED screens. As more and more mobile devices are taking up the superior OLED displays, and even some high-end laptops have started to do the same, there are clear advantages available to developers for simply adding the option to fill the screen with dark colors instead of light ones.
This move has taken the dark mode from chic aesthetic choice on apps like Twitter to a required feature on almost every app out there. The ironic thing behind all of this is that just before Google published the research that led to the recent dark mode frenzy, it had introduced a new Material Design philosophy that was replete with a simple design layout and, you guessed it, brilliant white backgrounds.
Not one to cry over spilt milk, Google has since set about adding dark modes to all of its core products from the likes of Google Calendar and Keep to more established apps like Gmail and Chrome.
The Chrome dark mode is rather an interesting one. When activated Chrome looks a lot like it does when in incognito mode. The toolbars and taskbars are shades of grey all way down to black and the homepage is the same with darkened logos appearing in the center of the screen for your most visited websites. When you’re using the web, however this is all just the periphery. Most of the screen space is taken up by the website you’re looking at rather than the Chrome toolbars around it.
This is where the Chrome dark mode gets cool. Google has been working on a dark mode for Chrome that will force websites to darken their pages, thus saving your battery life. Even better, particularly with recent moves from laptop manufacturers like Dell and HP to give their laptops OLED devices, this new type of dark mode is also coming to Chrome on desktop.
According to a report by 9 to 5 Google, the Android specific classification that has allowed users on mobile to try out Chrome’s new dark mode has been changed to an all systems classification. This means it will be available on desktop devices as well as mobile devices.
The feature isn’t ready yet though, and still has long way to go along the development path before we’ll even get to see screenshots of what it will look like. The 9 to 5 Google report does go into some details, however, so we can learn a little about the incoming feature even if we can’t actually see it. The report says, “Google is offering five prospective dark modes to choose from. 1) Simple HSL-based inversion, 2) Simple CIELAB-based inversion, 3) Selective image inversion, 4) Selective inversion of non-image elements, and 5) Selective inversion of everything.” The first two relate to the different types of ‘dark’ that Chrome will display with CIELAB being the more advanced way of showing dark colors. The three selective options will all then offer a choice on what Chrome will paint black with all three using the CIELAB-based inversion.
If phrases like ‘inversion’ and ‘selective non-image elements’ don’t sound like the types of buttons you’d normally see in the Google Chrome settings menu you’d be right. For now, these options are only available in the Google Chrome Canary build, which the developers use to try out advanced new features on developers and advanced web users. As we’ve already mentioned, it’ll be quite some time before we see Chrome’s dark mode become a regular part of the flagship Google web browser. When it does arrive there’ll likely only be one type of dark mode.