Google has launched a new tool to celebrate the upcoming release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, letting users choose to join the light side or the dark side of the force, and customizing the appearance of their Google apps accordingly. Once you've picked a side (the dark side was worryingly popular in The Verge's offices), Google starts updating your apps. Gmail gets new backgrounds, YouTube's progress bar and volume slider appear as red or blue lightsabers, and in Google Maps, your position marker becomes either a TIE fighter or an X-Wing. There are even more changes to Chrome, Chromecast, Google Translate, Waze, and more.
unwanted calendar events are very dark side, google
Although Google says none of this will affect the functionality of its products, there is at least one annoying change, with Google automatically adding Star Wars events to your calendar for the film's first showing and general release in cinemas. The conversion of your apps might also take a while ("Once you choose a side, it may take a few hours for the Force to awaken within all your apps," says Google) and some changes — like those for Chrome, Gmail, and YouTube — are only visible on desktop devices. Similarly, none of the custom themes appear on work accounts, so don't worry about revealing your allegiance in the office.
Once you've had enough, you can head back to google.com/starwars to return your account to normal or the changes will automatically disappear on February 1st next year. However, Google says this isn't the end of its Star Wars tributes, and promises that there's more to come, including "the Millennium Falcon in all its (virtual reality) glory."