The ability to make user interfaces look darker is something that has been spreading through the software world like wildfire in recent years, and it has reached the point that the option is to be found just about everywhere.
Google Chrome is no different in offering this function, but Google is busy working on new options for Android users that will help to improve things even further. An important change that is making its way to the mobile browser will give users the option of having different settings in place for different sites rather than being forced to give them all the same treatment.
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This is a great option for anyone who has ever encountered a website which is rendered illegible if dark mode is enabled. It means that rather than having to temporarily disable dark mode whenever you visit a problematic site, you can instead option to disable the auto-darken option on a site-by-site basis.
As ever, it's the brave souls running the Canary build of Chrome who get first look at this new feature. You will have to enable the option flag Darken websites at chrome://flags; after restarting Chrome you'll be able to configure auto-dark options by visiting the settings for individual pages.
Lights on or off?
Sadly, for the time being the settings has no effect, but the mere presence of the flag is enough to let us know that work is underway. Google is likely to enable the feature via a server-side setting, so there is no harm in having the flag enabled in readiness so you can start to feel the benefits as soon as possible.
It should not be too long before the same options start to roll out to more widely used versions of Chrome for Android, as well as iOS. At the moment, however, there is no suggestion that the same feature will be making its way to the desktop.
Analysis: Bringing choice to Chrome
Dark mode may be fairly ubiquitous these days, but options relating to it are fairly limited. Users only really have the choice of enabling dark mode on a system-wide basis or for individual apps; there are no fine-grain controls to play with. But here Google is bringing important personalization options to Chrome, making it possible to improve the legibility of sites which might otherwise prove problematic.
On the face of it, this could be considered an accessibility option, but it is something that everyone can benefit from. There are some sites that undeniably look better with dark mode enabled, so it's good to have this choice. There are also some sites which you may find easier to read with dark mode off, and this new option allows for per-site configuration.
- Find out how to change Google Chrome into dark mode
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Sofia is a tech journalist who's been writing about software, hardware and the web for nearly 25 years – but still looks as youthful as ever! After years writing for magazines, her life moved online and remains fueled by technology, music and nature.
Having written for websites and magazines since 2000, producing a wide range of reviews, guides, tutorials, brochures, newsletters and more, she continues to write for diverse audiences, from computing newbies to advanced users and business clients. Always willing to try something new, she loves sharing new discoveries with others.
Sofia lives and breathes Windows, Android, iOS, macOS and just about anything with a power button, but her particular areas of interest include security, tweaking and privacy. Her other loves include walking, music, her two Malamutes and, of course, her wife and daughter.