Google might soon let you search in dark mode on the desktop

Woman using desktop PC at night
(Image credit: Alysun / Shutterstock)

Google is currently testing a new dark mode option for desktop searches, which should mean a lot less glare when browsing the web at night.

Dark mode for desktop searches is long overdue; Google has been releasing eye-friendly versions of its mobile apps and services for several years now, but until now it's only been possible to avoid the glare of the bright white desktop search results page by installing a third-party extension like Theme Color Changer, or using Chrome Flags to force dark mode for all webpages.

As 9to5Google reports, the new-look Google Search features a dark gray background in place of the usual white, with a white Google logo rather than the red, green, yellow and blue version we know so well, and light gray text instead of black.

Users included in the test have reported that there's no way to toggle between dark and light modes, though if the new design is rolled out to everyone we'd anticipate there being a simple switch available to change between dark and light, similar to the one in Gmail's settings.

Why it matters

A large part of the appeal of dark mode is simply its cool factor – although it's not universal, many people just think it looks better than designs that are mostly white. However, there are more practical reasons to make the switch.

If you're running a laptop from its battery, opting for dark mode might help you keep going longer between charges, as dark pixels use less power than white ones (as confirmed by Google's own research into smartphones). That could be a big advantage, particularly if you're travelling.

Choosing dark mode also means you're exposed to less blue light, which may affect your ability to sleep. The jury is out on how much of an effect blue light has, but lack of sleep not only leaves you feeling tired and cranky, it's also associated with various serious health problems.

We don't yet know when (or indeed if) dark mode for Google search will be rolled out globally, and the end result may look different depending on the results of the A/B testing, but we'll keep you updated as soon as we learn more.

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of TechRadar's sister site Advnture. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better)