Google Chrome’s New Material Design Refresh Is Optimized for Touchscreens

The new design of Chrome is now available on the Canary channel for Windows, Mac, Linux and Chrome OS

Google has been working on a refresh of its original design philosophy called material design. This design refresh was featured heavily in Google I/O 2018 and finally looks like it’s coming to Google Chrome for desktops. The Canary build of Google Chrome for Windows/OSX/Chrome OS now features this new material design.


Francois Beaufort, renowned Chrome leaker and now Google employee, recently posted about the new design update for Google Chrome. Mr. Beaufort says in the post that plenty of Chrome elements have been changed for the better, including ‘tab shape, single tab mode, omnibox suggestion icons, tab strip coloring, pinned tabs, and alert indicators.’

Optimized for Touchscreens

As Windows and Chrome OS laptops transition to touchscreens and detachable keyboards, Google figured it was time to make the Chrome browser more friendly to touch. That is probably the reason we see more spacious buttons, with added space between the back, forward and refresh buttons.

As a result of touchscreen optimization, the interface of the new Chrome design looks generally less cluttered and more spacious.

There are more changes from the previous iterations of the Chrome design refresh. Earlier experimental versions of Chrome design featured rounded rectangles for all tabs. Now, the tabs in the background are separated only by break lines, and only the current tab is rectangular. Below is a picture of an older iteration of the Chrome browser redesign.

An older version of the redesign, Source : Chrome Story

In Canary mode, the Chrome browser on Windows, Linux and Chrome OS will get automatically updated. For MacOS users running the Canary channel of Google Chrome, they can get access to the new design by –

1) Setting experimental flags chrome://flags/#top-chrome-md to “Refresh”

2) Enabling chrome://flags/#views-browser-windows.

The new design of Chrome browser is still on Canary channel, which means that nothing is confirmed yet. The Chrome team could still decide to not go with this design version of Chrome. But from the looks of it, some parts of the new Google Chrome design will trickle down to beta and then eventually stable channels.

As more and more touchscreen laptops hit the market, it is the perfect time for Chrome to quickly unveil this new, more touchscreen friendly design. We can hence expect the Chrome redesign to reach everyone soon.


Nishant Kauntia
Nishant is a tech-enthusiast, and keeps experimenting with new apps and tweaks on his Chromebook and Android smartphone. Innovative user-experience developments fascinate him. Apart from keeping a keen eye out for updates in the tech industry, Nishant is interested in Philosophy and Creative Writing.

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Google Chrome’s New Material Design Refresh Is Optimized for Touchscreens

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