Google's issued a new beta for its Chrome browser which adds the rumoured themes functionality as well as making a number of other improvements to the software, including speeding it up considerably.

Google's claiming a 30% performance boost over the previous version - which already has a reputation for being one of the fastest browsers around. It's also got an improved tab page - the page that loads when you open a new tab.

The Omnibox - which is what Google calls its address bar - has also seen improvements. Icons have been added to distinguish between suggested sites, searches, bookmarks, and sites from your browsing history. There's improved HTML 5 capabilities too.

But the themes are the headline addition, and just act to change the look and feel of the browser. There are 29 to choose from, from "Grass" to "Zen Spring", and they're accessed via the settings menu. If you're running Visa or Windows 7, however, be aware that it'll kill the transparency of the window edges, which is a feature that many people like about Chrome.

If you want to try it out, you need to switch to the "beta channel" of the browser. It gives a sneak preview of forthcoming features, which may have "occasional rough edges", according to Google. Do that at the link below.