Google Updates the Chrome Icon

Posted on February 6, 2022 by Paul Thurrott in Google Chrome with 17 Comments

For the first time in eight years, Google is changing the icon for Chrome, its flagship web browser. The differences, thankfully, are minor.

“Some of you might have noticed a new icon in Chrome’s Canary update today,” Chrome designer Elvin Hu tweeted. “Yes! we’re refreshing Chrome’s brand icons for the first time in 8 years. The new icons will start to appear across your devices soon.”

Most people probably wouldn’t even notice the change. But there are, in fact, several differences. Hu says that his team simplified the main brand icon by removing the shadows, refining the proportions, and brightening the colors. This, he says, aligns the icon with Google’s latest and modern “brand expression.”

The most obvious difference, I guess, is the larger blue circle at the center. Other changes are subtler. Google found, for example, “that placing certain shades of green and red next to each other created an unpleasant color vibration, so [it] introduced a very subtle gradient to the main icon to mitigate that, making the icon more accessible.”

Hu says that the icon was also customized for each platform. On Windows 10 and 11, the icon will have “an obviously gradated look,” letting it look more natural on those systems. On Chrome OS, the team used brighter colors without gradients to match that system. And on macOS, it has a 3D look.

“You might ask, ‘why bother with something so subtle?’” Hue continues. “We tailor Chrome’s experience to each OS, with features like Native Window Occlusion on Windows, day-one M1 support on macOS, Widgets on iOS/Android, and Material You on Android. We want our brand to convey the same level of care.”

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Comments (17)

17 responses to “Google Updates the Chrome Icon”

  1. bschnatt

    The only one I like is the 2008 version. The rest of them are boooooring...

    • miamimauler


      Fwiw, I disagree. The 2008 one is ugly to my eyes.

      • wright_is

        I would say the 2008 icon is "of its time", it represented what was cool in icon design at the time ("you had to be there" syndrome), the Windows Start menu at the time had a similar faux 3D shiny look as well.

        I didn't even notice the bigger blue circle in the new one, until Paul said it, the only thing I really noticed was the missing shadows.

  2. ronv42

    What would a Johnny Ive's icon looked like? Probably just a Circle.

  3. mbrouwer

    I only saw the changes when staring at them for a minute before reading the article and only in the article itself. When I look at the article thumbnail on the frontpage they're so small I don't see any difference. Can't wait for the discussion between Paul and Mary-Jo on WW :)

  4. dftf

    The 2008 one clearly has the most-stylised look, though scaling-down that look to small icon-sizes would result in a blurry-mess -- and remember on Windows, icons will typically be 16x16, 24x24 or 32x32, depending on where we're looking and the user's settings (e.g. small or large Taskbar height, on Windows 10).

    I guess from the app-makers point-of-view, why not just use the same icon-style across all sizes? It's simpler to only have one design, and it's more-consistent than having the icon suddenly change when the user reaches a certain size

  5. safesax2002

    As someone who is paritally colorblind I liked the one with the shadows as it allows my brain to make the shift between the green and the red. I understand the color vibration (now I know what to call that effect) thing but the shadow eliminated that. The new still has a color vibration issue to me (though probably not as stark as some of their earlier prototypes that Hu is likely referring to).

    • dftf

      If you don't already use it, the "Colour Filters" feature of Windows 10 and 11 might be helpful.

      On Windows 10, go to Start > Settings (cog icon) > Ease of Access > Colour Filters. (On Windows 11 look for "Accessibility" rather-than "Ease of Access" on that step).

      Turn it on, then select the type of colour-blindness you have and it will recolour all on-screen icons and text for you in all standard apps.

  6. red.radar

    It’s one of those changes where I see more time was spent by program managers arguing over tiny details of what they wanted and the developer did maybe 10min of work.

  7. KiloCycles

    2008 version looks like a rainbow Tide pod. It'll return as retro tech style!

  8. LT1 Z51

    It's just making it super flat. Because that's cool now. In 10 more years it will look like the 2008 one again (because 3D will be cool again)

  9. navarac

    A change for no benefit - a waste of money, like all logo minimal changes.

  10. simont

    I like the 3D effect of the 2008 icon, but honestly, unless I looked, I wouldn't really notice the difference between 2011 and 2022

  11. Daekar

    Am I the only one that thinks the one from 2008 is the best of the bunch?

    • wright_is

      I would say it is the most "realistic", i.e. looks like a model of something, almost skeuomorphic. It certainly past to its time, but it looks very dated today.

      I never really liked the Chrome logo, but I'd go with the current one being the best, purely for its simplicity. Different strokes and all that.

  12. fuller1754

    FWIW I never really liked this icon in any of its forms.

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