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Sneak Peek at the New Look Chrome Download History Page

Google Chrome’s Downloads page (the one inside the browser, not the one you visit to get the browser) is undergoing a ‘material design’ makeover.

And about time too as the incumbent design has changed very little since Chrome launched back in 2008.

Unlike the failed Bookmarks overhaul the new downloads history page keeps things simple.

Download history items are now shown as cards, complete with mime-type icons. An ‘x’ in the corner of each card lets you remove items from the list individually, and the link to ‘show in folder’ is now more prominent.

Screenshot 2015-08-06 at 12.41.08

The search box remains in the upper left (albeit hidden until you click on the icon) and links to ‘clear all downloads’ and ‘open downloads folder’ remain available.

Delineation between items downloaded on different dates is more distinct in the new version. A thicker gap and thin line separates items by download date.

For contrast, here’s the current design of the downloads page in Chrome:

How Chrome's internal downloads page traditionally looks

How Chrome’s internal downloads page traditionally looks

Other than the visual rejig itself the only true new features coming in the revamp are download notification toasts (with nice big previews for images; have been in testing for a while) and (finally) a responsive design that contracts and expands items on screen to fit the view, punting some options into an overflow menu when there’s not enough horizontal space.

Screenshot 2015-08-06 at 12.39.27

Enable Material Design Downloads Page in Chrome Dev

The new Downloads page design is not set as default on any channel (as of writing). If you want to try it out orr check in on its progress you can do so easily.

Enable the following flag in the latest Dev channel or Canary release of either desktop browser or Chrome OS to get the new material design downloads page and the new download notification toasts:

chrome://flags/#enable-md-downloads

Click the ‘enable’ link to, well, enable the new look download history. Chrome will prompt you to relaunch, so be sure to save any open pages/tabs if needed.

  • Finally! Now they need a hamburguer icon integrating Downloads, History and Extensions.

  • Ryan Johnson

    Looks nice

  • wilfried peeters

    Looks really great !

  • Jordana Sinclair

    I used that tag, it didn’t work. Maybe i did something wrong.

  • infektedpc

    updates here but not omg ubuntu? what gives?

  • liamdools

    Looks horrible. Dumbed down and ugly, plus it’s gigantic. I guess my PC’s a tablet now, the whole reason I dumped Windows 8 in the first place.

    • James Bell

      Well, with Android apps being ported to Chrome OS, it seems Google has a similar philosophy to Microsoft.

      • liamdools

        Well it’s not a very good one. I’m no Mac fanboy, but Apple had originally tried internally again and again to merge iOS and Mac while still making it a pleasurable experience on both devices and it was an impossible task. Desktop apps should stay on the desktop and phone apps should stay on the phone. Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

        • wirelesscord

          We desktop users are a dying breed…

  • Pierre Gardin

    there is a Material PDF viewer as well

  • Logan Combs

    Theres a Material Design settings too, and recently they added 3 cards but there useless right now though

  • wirelesscord

    Amazing waste of space. At least they’ve kept the functionality the same, so I guess they learned something after the new bookmarks failure.

  • Evert

    I noticed this flag in my chrome (64bit) today, regular channel. So I tried it. Seems the stylesheet is not loaded since the page shows an unstyled list of all my downloads?

  • Jawad Ahmed

    Oh no, its ugly. I hope its not forced onto us like the new tab

  • My Uncle Noah just got an almost new cream Volkswagen Golf R by working parttime off of a pc online.visit their website on my` prof1Ie`

    ~“““`

  • Nelson009

    It was forced on me today. If I ever meet the guy that decided that ONE downloaded file should be represented by around EIGHT lines of pages space, I’m liable to end up in jail.

  • Darian Davis

    The new one sucks. I can’t even see how large the download is, the estimated time, or the progress. This is a HUGE step backwards.

  • yona

    what an incredible “makeover” – shame they try to make us work hard just to get to that “clear all” link.
    “ui” wise it sucks.

  • The Force Gamer

    I fought i downloaded a tracking malware when I found out about the new look ;)