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Chrome for Android may soon use the Material You color theme

One of the hallmarks of the upcoming Material You design language, featured in Android 12, is themes that are based on your current background. Signs have started pointing to Chrome for Android which is preparing to support the material you color theme.

Material You are ready to refresh Material Design on Android and beyond, and improve Material Theming from 2018. Beyond changes in cards and user interfaces, and adding things like more steeply rounded corners, Material You features a modernized color system that moves Android from binary light / dark themes to an almost infinite range of personal color choices, based on your current background.

While Google has not yet explained to Android developers how to best use the Material You color system, the simplified version ̵

1; as explained by Dylan Roussel – is that app developers will want to use new color APIs that will always provide an appropriate shade. Once configured, Android 12 handles the necessary color changes for you.

So where does Chrome fit into all this? Earlier this month, a new code change was posted on Chromium, which is beginning to rework the way Chrome for Android handles its Material Design colors. In the comments, we find two developers discussing how Chrome intends to use these colors.

During this discussion, it was realized that “a new layer” of work will be needed for Chrome to “conditionally get the material in the next color.” Before the name “Material” was revealed on Google I / O, Google referred to the third generation of material design as “Material NEXT”, and it seems that the name has stuck, at least internally.

From this we can assume that Google is actively thinking about how to integrate the chameleon-like nature of Material You in Chrome for Android. This will mark a significant shift for the mobile version of Chrome, as the app today only offers a light / dark switch, with no sign of the wider theme support offered by the desktop browser.

It’s not yet clear which parts of Chrome for Android – or even how much of it – will potentially be restored by Material You. Using the recently uncovered work done to differentiate Google Messages as a basis, we have created a simple mockup of a potential way that Chrome can be colored in a non-disruptive way.

That said, given that the work has not yet started and the Material you are not set to launch properly before Android 12 releases later this year, we probably still have a lot of time to wait before Chrome for Android is repainted. When it does, it will just be one of many of Google’s apps to be repainted for Material You, and join apps like Gboard and Messages.

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