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September 8, 2018

How to change your Google background

by John_A

Google’s app design is fairly plain, but it doesn’t have to stay that way. One way to spice it up is by changing the Google search background (and adjacent components). Listed below is also a way to change the new tab page in the newest version of Chrome.

Before doing any of this, you’ll of course want to make sure you have the Google Chrome browser. It won’t work with Microsoft Edge or Firefox. Then again, it’s the best browser you can download anyways, so you should probably install it anyways.

Step 1: Head to your Appearance settings

Open up Chrome and look in the upper right corner of your browser window for three dots. Click these to open up the the primary Chrome drop-down menu. Toward the bottom of the drop-down, you will see an option to go to “Settings.” Select this, and you’re on your way.

In a new browser tab for all your Chrome settings, you’ll see that it’s divided into various sections. Take a look at the second section, which should be called “Appearance.” This is where you can control what your Google window looks like. The first option in this setting should be “Themes.”

Changing your theme will automatically change your Google background to match, so this is the option you want to select. With no theme picked, you should see an open to “Open Chrome Web Store.” Select this.

Step 2: Pick your theme

Chrome should now take you directly to the Chrome themes section. Here you can browse the many, many available themes for your Google experience, divided by broad content type. The primary image that you see is typically the image that will appear as your Google background, so you can use this as a guide.

Each section shows only the top rated images for that content type, but you can take a closer look by choosing “Select All” if you find a section you like.

Once you select a theme, make sure to check out its preview images and reviews. Note that most themes extend their colors and patterns throughout the browser window and browser tabs, so take a look at the full appearance. Checking the “Related” tab will show you more themes by that particular developer.

If you find something that you like, just click on the “Add to Chrome” button in the top right corner.

Step 3: Add it to Chrome

The theme should be automatically added and enabled. You can watch your browser tabs change along with the theme, and if you head to a new Google search page or open a new tab, you should be able to see the primary image. A notification will pop up at the top of the window to let you know that the theme has been enabled. This notification also includes an “Undo” button for reversing the theme if you want to make a quick change.

See if you like the overall theme — sometimes you may like the image, but not like what the theme does your tabs or other colors that it adds throughout the browser. In this case, hit the undo button on the notification, or head back to “Appearances” in “Settings” and revert to the default theme there. You can choose and disable as many themes as you want as you look for the right one!

Using a custom image

Maybe the themes aren’t cutting it for you this time, and you would rather have a customized background of some family photos or an amazing nature scene you shot. You can do this too, but it will take an extra extension.

Head over to the Chrome Web Store and download the Background Image extension. Add this free extension to your Chrome browser. Now you have the ability to choose a downloaded image to put up as your Google background. This image will not affect your tabs or other browser components, and it’s a great way to personal the background with a beloved photo if you can’t find a theme that you like.

In addition, you can also swap out the photo for your blank new tab page in Google Chrome, which can add some more personality to the Chrome browsing experience.

This is a feature only available in the newest version of the Chrome browser, so you’ll want to make sure you have that downloaded

All you need to do is click the “Settings” gear at the bottom right corner of the screen. From here, you’ll have the option of either uploading your own image or one of Google’s stock photos.

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