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Themes have been gradually getting simpler to activate in Google Chrome, but they became enabled by default in the newest developer releases this week, version and a hasty bug-fix release Wednesday night, version No longer must you mess with pesky "--enable-extensions" command-line switches or other nitty-gritty options.

google chrome theme

When you point Chrome to a theme's URL, the browser will offer to save it, a process that installs it, too.

chrome theme

If you're using the new Chrome developer release, there are two sample themes available, Camo and Snowflake. To activate them, click the link then agree to save the CRX file. Chrome will then switch themes and give you a yellow alert it did so.

Google is working on making this easier. In the tools menu, clicking "Options" and then "Personal Stuff," there's a "Themes" section with a "Get Themes" button. So far the Web site it links to is empty, but presumably it will be populated with some themes soon enough.

The themes also work on Mac OS X, though the options dialog box has a tantalizing color picker that I couldn't get to do anything.

The new version also adds support for the HTML 5 video tag, Google said. That feature is a centerpiece of browser makers' efforts to propagate "open Web" standards that permit richer Web sites and Web applications that don't rely on plug-ins such as Adobe Flash.

(Credit: Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET)