As mentioned on Reddit, a Google developer recently submitted a code change that implements system-level Dark Mode in Chromium, the open source web browser that serves as the foundation of Chrome. The code change passed the review process and will make its way into a future release of Chrome.
For those unaware, there are several different builds of Chrome that Google uses to slowly test and roll out new features. All code changes begin in Chromium and then work their way from Canary to Chrome Dev to Chrome Beta to Chrome, the stable version released to all users roughly every six weeks.
Dark Mode in Chromium remains hidden behind feature flags, which are essentially code-level toggle switches, but we were able to run a Terminal command to force the darker appearance into action and took screenshots.
The system-level Dark Mode applies a dark appearance to much of the Chrome interface, including the omnibox, tabs, menus, bookmark bar, status bar, and dialog boxes. The startup page with Google search and shortcuts will also have a black background when the Dark appearance is enabled in System Preferences.
Most of the current Dark Mode colors in Chromium are placeholders, according to one developer working on the project, so there may be slight changes to come. One challenge the developers face is ensuring that the Dark Mode is distinguishable from Chrome’s private-browsing Incognito Mode, which is also dark.
We’re not entirely sure if Dark Mode will make the cut for Chrome 72, which has already been branched and will likely be released in mid-to-late January. Chrome 73 will likely follow in March, so it looks like early 2019 either way.
In the meantime, a variety of third-party dark themes are available for Chrome, but the omnibox always remains white since it is not allowed to be themed. Third-party dark themes are also available for websites such as Facebook, Google, YouTube, Gmail, Reddit, and Twitter to complete the experience.
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