Material Design is almost 4 years old, announced alongside Lollipop at Google I/O in 2014. It’s about to get a refresh but with Chrome as the launch vehicle if a new commit is to be believed.
The appearance of references to Material Design 2 isn’t new, with the team at XDA-Developers first seeing references to it in a commit on the Chromium repository earlier this year. After the discovery Google made the commit private, but it’s since been made public and now refers to ‘Touch Optimized’ instead of Material Design 2.
The touch optimised Chrome experience is already being tested in Chrome, with the Canary version already offering users the option to try ‘touchable chrome’ if they enable the flag: chrome://flags/#top-chrome-md. Once enabled, the address bar becomes larger (and adopts a rounded end), and other possible touch targets become easier to tap with a finger – essentially, it’s touch optimised.
The expected launch for the new design is also hinted at in the commit, with reference to a ‘Chrome Birthday deck with the full-scale MD2 design’. Chrome was first released in September 2008, so it’s being posited that this new layout may make its way to the Stable Channel for wide release in September in time for Chrome’s birthday.
September would be good timing to launch with any Chrome OS related devices – like a Pixel version of the Acer Chrome Tablet that was recently announced – that Google announce at their expected third ‘Made by Google’ event in October.
We’ll hopefully see this move through from the Canary channel to Dev and Beta in the coming months and be able to get a better look at it as it goes live.