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The latest Canary release of Google Chrome includes a clever feature that automatically selects the browser’s color scheme based on the wallpaper displayed when you open a new tab. The feature was first discovered by u/Leopeva64-2 on Reddit, who showed how changing the new tab wallpaper automatically adjusts the color scheme of the browser’s address bar and interface. Previously users could manually change Chrome’s color scheme to one of their choices, but now it simplifies the process even more.

The feature, “the ability to set the theme color based on the background image color when changing the background image in a new tab,” is available on Mac, Windows and Linux, as well as Google’s own ChromeOS and Fuchsia operating systems.

We were able to test it out for ourselves by turning on the “Custom Chrome Color Extraction” feature in Chrome’s Canary version 110 (specifically 110.0.5418.0). It seems to work best on more colorful wallpapers, while darker backgrounds tend to make Chrome’s interface a muddy black, brown, or gray — not much of an improvement over its default color scheme.

Users are also able to choose Google’s own wallpapers, although the automatic color theme option didn’t work when we uploaded our own images – it’s unclear whether this is a bug or a design issue.

It’s a feature similar to Android’s Material You, which adjusts the OS’s color scheme based on what it detects in your home screen wallpaper. It debuted in Android 12 last year and was expanded in this year’s Android 13 update, and Google has introduced theming options in several of its Android apps. But this appears to be the first time Google has introduced a similar feature on a non-Google OS.

The feature isn’t enabled by default. Instead, if you want to try it, you need to enable the Chrome test tag “chrome://flags/#customize-chrome-color-extraction”. Once enabled, open a new Chrome tab, click the pen icon at the bottom right of the new tab window and select a new wallpaper to see its color scheme reflected in Chrome’s interface. Once a wallpaper is selected, that color scheme will persist in different tabs as you browse the web.

There’s no word yet on if or when the feature will get a wider rollout, but given that it’s currently an opt-in feature on the Canary version of Google Chrome (i.e., the earliest beta version of its software), we don’t expect it to be widely available for at least a few months.

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