Google Chrome 115 is rolling out and will install automatically in the coming days, but you can get it today by checking for updates.
Chrome 115 doesn’t come with many new features, and the primary change in the update is support for Topics API, which will eventually replace cross-site tracking cookies. One notable and hidden change in the release is support for Windows 11’s Mica, a design material that could refresh Chrome’s interface.
Windows 11 22H2 update added Mica to Desktop Window Manager (DWM) with a new variable “DWM_SYSTEMBACKDROP_TYPE”, allowing developers to enable Mica in their traditional Win32 apps. This allowed developers to enable Mica in Chrome’s title bar, now available in the stable release.
Microsoft’s documentation describes Mica material as an “opaque, dynamic material”. It is similar to Microsoft Fluent Design’s acrylic effect in many ways. However, Mica doesn’t create a simple transparency effect. Instead, it adds the theme and desktop wallpaper colour to the background of the title bar of Chrome.
With Mica, Chrome can now clearly inform users which browser window is in focus.
Microsoft officials claim adding Mica to apps like Chrome can boost productivity and create a visual hierarchy. Since Mica samples the desktop wallpaper once to create the background for the title bar, apps using it won’t slow down Windows 11.
Chrome 115’s Mica feature is hidden, but it can be enabled by following these steps:
- Update Chrome to version 115 or download the browser.
- In the address bar, type “chrome://flags” and press enter.
- In the search box of the flags menu, look for “Windows 11 Mica titlebar”.
- Turn on the “Windows 11 Mica titlebar” flag and restart the browser.
Once done, you will notice the Mica effect around the tab strip or title bar of Chrome. You’ll also spot a new animation effect when you hover over the open tabs in the browser.
Google says it uses Microsoft’s Desktop Window Manager-based Mica title bar on Windows 11 version 22H2 (build 22621) and above. The feature isn’t available in the old version of the operating system, but this could change in the future if and when the tech giant backports the new DWM changes.