Google Search begins testing dark mode for mobile web, here’s how to try it

Earlier this month, we showed that a dark mode was coming to the Google Search website on Android, by way of Google Chrome. At the time, we weren’t sure of how this dark mode would work or why it would require a flag in chrome://flags. As of today, Google Search has finally begun testing its dark mode for mobile web — here’s how you can start using it.

Since we talked about it last, Google has put very little work into the feature on the Chrome side of things. In fact, all we could find was that Chrome for Android would slightly alter the URL for your searches depending on whether you have the flag enabled and are using Chrome’s dark mode. Specifically, Chrome added “cs=1” to Google Search URLs, but, as of earlier this week, the change had no effect.

However, sometime over the weekend, Google Search changed things on the server side. Following the change, the Google Search results page on Chrome for Android is put into a darker color scheme, albeit one that doesn’t line up too closely with the Google app on Android. For example, the shade of blue used appears to be slightly darker in Chrome than it is on the Google Search app for Android.

If you want to try out the dark mode for Google Search on your own device, there’s two ways you can do so. The first requires that you download either Chrome Canary or Chrome Dev from the Play Store, and enable the flag below on the chrome://flags page. Once enabled, you’ll automatically be brought to the dark version of Google Search when Chrome itself is also in dark mode.

Show darkened search pages on Android

If enabled, users will see a darkened search page if Chrome is in nightmode as well.

#enable-android-dark-search

However, surprisingly, you don’t need to use a special pre-release browser or change your settings to get a preview of Google Search’s new dark mode on mobile web. All you really need to do is type “&cs=1” onto the end of a Google Search URL. Here’s an example:

That said, in our testing, even with the URL change, the dark mode only appears when browsing Google Search from Chrome for Android. Other Android browsers like Firefox, Microsoft Edge and Kiwi Browser, as well as Chrome for iOS, all show the usual light mode. We were at least able to get some of the dark mode to appear by having Firefox pretend to be Chrome, using an extension.

Unfortunately, we don’t know if Google plans to bring its dark mode to other mobile browsers or even the desktop versions of Chrome. For now, though, this is at least a step in the right direction.

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