Google Chrome has supported themes for years, allowing you to pick a new design from the Chrome Web Store. There’s now a simpler way to give Chrome a new look, but it does have one annoying catch.
Google is rolling out an updated “Customize Chrome” side panel in the desktop Chrome browser, which allows you to customize the look without installing a theme. There are a few built-in color options, as well as a collection of backgrounds that can appear on the New Tab Page, many of which are wallpapers from ChromeOS. Google highlighted the collections created by Asian & Pacific Islander, LGBTQ+, Latino, Black and Native American artists in the blog post, and there are also some cityscapes, space images, and other artwork.
You can see the customization options by clicking the Customize Chrome button on the New Tab Page, or by opening the side panel while on the New Tab Page and selecting “Customize Chrome” from the list.
Google said in its announcement, “If you have trouble picking just one image, you can enjoy a rotating background by clicking on any theme collection and turning on the “Refresh daily” toggle. Or, if you use Profiles to keep your work and personal accounts separate, try giving each Profile a distinct background and color to differentiate between them.”
Unfortunately, the customization options are only available if Google is set as your default search engine. That’s likely because changing the default search engine can give the search engine some degree of control over the New Tab Page already, which could conflict with Google’s changes. It would be great to see the colors on their own available for everyone, though, since that has nothing to do with the New Tab Page or the search engine.