The very first version of Google Chrome was released September 2, 2008, which means the world’s most popular browser is now 10 years old. Google is celebrating Chrome’s first decade with the stable release of a major new UI revamp.
Chrome’s big redesign is rolling out across desktop operating systems, Android, and iOS starting today. The new design brings Chrome more in line with Google’s updated Material Design guidelines that were announced this year at I/O. You’ll find a UI that is rounder, whiter, and has new icons. Tabs change from the trapezoidal shape to rectangles with rounded corners, the address bar is round, the omnibox is an actual box now, and there’s a new profile button to the right of the menu.
The new design is something we’ve been tracking since it hit Chrome’s nightly Canary builds in April. The one feature that seems to have not made it into this stable version is the “invisible” single tab design. Around July, the nightly builds had a white background for the tab bar, and the current tab was white. This meant if you had a single tab open, you wouldn’t see a tab at all (you can see the design in the first picture, here). The current builds on beta (and in Google’s press materials) have a gray tab background all the time, so the invisible tab look is gone.
Since we last looked in on Chrome’s redesign, the new tab page was revamped. The speed dial thumbnails are replaced with favicons on a circular background, and a menu in the bottom right will let you change the new tab background. You can also arbitrarily add URL shortcuts to the new tab page (finally!).
Chrome isn’t just getting the new design today; there are also a few new features being solidified into the stable channel. The password manager can auto-generate strong passwords and save them in Chrome’s autofill memory. For tab junkies, the omnibox will now search through your open tabs, and Google says that “soon” it will be able to search through Google Drive files.
Google’s announcement blog post looks forward to another 10 years of Chrome, and it calls out Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence as the next big features for browsers. “Already, we’re working on integrating augmented reality (AR) into Chrome to bring information that you interact with across the Web and put directly into your physical environment,” Google says. “Say you’re shopping for a couch online and want to see how it would look in your living room. With the power of AR and Chrome, you’d be able to place a virtual rendition of a couch in your living room, right from your smartphone.” The company points out AI is already in use in the browser, powering the automatic Google Translate features and helping to detect phishing and malware sites.
Not many tech sites were around during the start of Chrome’s tenure, but if you’re curious, you can take a trip down memory lane with some early Chrome coverage from Ars.
- Hands-on with Chrome: Google’s browser shines (mostly) by Ryan Paul
- John Siracusa on why Chrome was a wake up call for browser and OS vendors
- Chrome antics: did Google reverse-engineer Windows? by Peter Bright