Google seems to be rolling out a new dark mode for Search on the desktop for some users. A new pop-up message suggesting that “Dark theme is now available has begun showing up for people, based on user posts on Twitter, which was corroborated by folks over at 9to5Google as well. The feature seems to also be showing up for users when accessing Google Search from the desktop in Incognito mode.
Dark mode is here on Google search. pic.twitter.com/Xfeg6r8fXy— Conrad O'Connell (@conradoconnell) February 10, 2021
The prompt reportedly redirects users to a setting that lets them choose between light, dark, or system theme. This means that the search engine will adapt to the system theme settings on Windows and macOS, making it a much more streamlined option for those that prefer to switch between themes regularly. However, it is not clear if the rollout is part of an A/B test or an actual staggered release since the feature supposedly gets disabled for some users after a page refresh or when users navigate to image search.
This isn’t the first time that users have been able to spot dark mode for Search on the web. Back in May last year, the company was testing the theming option on mobile browsers via a hidden flag. Early this year, there were reports of a randomized test with an experience similar to what users are reporting today.
Awesome, Google is finally testing dark mode for Google Search— Techusiast (@Techusiast) February 4, 2021
I can currently only get it to work in incognito, likely part of A/B testing
Image search takes you right back to Light mode#Google #GoogleSearch pic.twitter.com/31o9FHrT4P
As for the theming option itself, the company is keeping the experience in line with its mobile apps, which means that the UI adapts a dark grey background color with white text. From the screenshots posted by users, it does not look like there are too many rough edges, although, the theme is applicable only to a few pages.
The addition of a dark theme for Search on the web will be a welcome addition for those that prefer the theming option, especially when working in dimly lit environments. It will be interesting to see if the Mountain View company expands the rollout of the feature soon or if this is another toe dip in the water to gauge reception from users.