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Playing with Google Chrome browser themes

I like Google's Chrome browser a lot. It's fast — in the same neighbourhood as Opera, the Firefox 4 betas, and Apple's Safari, indeed perhaps the fastest of the lot for the sort of surfing I mostly do. It also starts up (and shuts down) faster than any other browser save for Safari on my Mac, and faster if one is loading a previous session of open tabs.

I also love Chrome's no-hassle downloads manager, and its rock-solid stability and unbugginess. I can't remember the last time I had a Chrome unexpected quit.

I even like Chrome's minimalist default user interface appearance, although probably the knock I've heard most against Chrome, at least in the Mac community, is that it is allegedly "ugly," a perception that eludes me. For example, I think Safari's looks are homely and boring compared with Chrome's clean simplicity. Beauty is in the eye..., etc., I guess.

Anyway, while downloading the latest Chrome update build (version 7.0.517.44) this week, I decided to check out Chrome Themes — a gallery of alternate-appearance skins you can substitute for Chrome's default appearance with a couple of mouse clicks. These alternate themes change the look of the tab and toolbars and add a background
picture to the New Tab Most Visited/Recently Closed page. There is a vast selection of themes available, most of which didn't much appeal to me, but happily there were a few that did.

Being a consummate life-long car freak, a theme entitled "Porsche" caught my eye. The Most Visited page picture shows a Porsche Panamera sedan in the foreground with a mouth-watering collection of vintage Porsche street machines and sports-racers arrayed on a pancake-flat desert landscape. Very nice, but I didn't much like the dark gray tabs and toolbar, which made the navigation buttons almost indistinguishable from their background field.

The theme I ultimately settled on to try out for a while is by photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand, author of The Earth From The Air and the movie HOME. Arthus-Bertrand is also the founder of GoodPlanet, a non-profit organisation working on raising public environmental awareness. Arthus-Bertrand's theme paints background tabs a bright and attractive (IMHO) shade of rose, while the foreground tab, along with the navigation toolbar turn jet black with white text — lots of easy-to-read contrast there. The Most Visited page background picture in this instance is a bush in rose-coloured full flower (perhaps a rhododendron?), obviously the inspiration for the rose-coloured browser tabs, amid a sea of green foliage which is of course consistent with the artist's environmental advocacy.

But that's just two out of dozens. I expect nearly everyone could find a theme that pleases their sense of aesthetics, you can check it all out here.