How do you feel about the default New Tab Page in Google Chrome? Most people have a love/hate relationship with it. Personally, I like it’s simplicity, but I dislike the style and ability to customize it.
For these reasons, it’s a good thing that there are Chrome extensions available for enhancing and customizing the New Tab Page. These extensions not only help to change up the look and functionality of it, but they are also great productivity boosters – allowing you to access your favorite sites much quicker and much more.
If you’re a fan of widgets and you also love Microsoft’s “Metro Style” (used on Windows Phones and Windows 8), you’ll love Awesome New Tab Page for Chrome. This extension turns the New Tab Page into a beautifully designed, customizable dashboard.
Awesome New Tab Page comes with its own default widgets, but you can also download more from the Chrome Web Store.
You’ll find widgets for displaying: the current time, your unread emails, the weather, the latest events from your Google Calendar and more. You can also rearrange your widgets and change the background color of the new tab page.
This custom New Tab Page supports themes, tab organization, bookmarks, history and speed dial. It’s simple, yet great for those who are looking for better organization of their Web browsing data and Chrome apps.
With the speed dial feature, you can add apps, tabs and Web pages for quick access. All sections of the New Tab Page can also be rearranged via drag-and-drop. In options you can choose a premade theme or upload your own. You can also upload a custom background image.
The New Tab Feeder extension is meant to give you quick access to all of your favorite news sources, Instagram photos, favorite websites (speed dial) and Chrome apps. As you may have guessed from the name of the extension, your favorite news sources are streamed via a live feed under “News.”
Instagram photos are used to create a background for the New Tab Page; clicking on an image will take you directly to it on Instagram. There is also a search bar called “smart search,” which displays personalized results and has a built-in translator.
If you really don’t care about your browsing history, Chrome apps or favorite websites, this extension is for you. It gives you shortcuts to your favorite social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn and more. These icons can be rearranged via drag-and-drop.
There are also shortcuts to your extensions, downloads, bookmarks, settings, history and experiments in Chrome. You can change the background color of the New Tab Page to 1 of the 10 included colors. The current time (in military time) also displays in the top right corner of the page.
If you’re looking for a stylish New Tab Page with easy access to your Chrome apps and favorite websites, look no further. With New Tab Plus, you’ll get a beautiful, customizable Mac-like dock (called the app bar), which you can use to access your recently visited sites and your Chrome apps.
From the quick tool bar in the top right corner of the page, you can access and manage your bookmarks, see your history and downloads, access your extensions, change the “dialbox” (speed dial) layout and change your background image (there are many to choose from).
There are many customization options so you can really customize your New Tab Page just the way you want.
Finally, we have Home – New Tab Page, which is another simple, yet beautifully designed page. It’s so simple that there’s no options or settings for the extension – just install and go. From it you can access your Chrome apps, recently closed tabs and Quick Notes. The time, day and date is also displayed at the bottom left the page.
The Quick Notes feature is basically like having a post-it note on the New Tab Page. Just click on it and start typing to jot down a note or anything that you want to remember later. You can also add basic styling like bold and italics to your note text.
You’ll also notice unread count badges for Gmail, Google Reader, Yahoo! Mail, Hotmail and Facebook; this is sure to come in handy.
One of the downsides to all of these extensions is that none of them seem to give you access to “other devices.” So if you sync your open tabs via Chrome Sync, you won’t be able to access those open tabs on other devices with any of these extensions. However, you can add another extension to help you with tab syncing.
Do you use an extension to enhance your New Tab Page? If so, which one do you use?