How to Make Chrome’s “New Tab” More Useful

by Ross McKillop on June 3, 2013

With one small Extension, you can make the “new tab page” in Google Chrome much more useful.

There are a number of Chrome Extensions that change the default behavior of the ‘new tab’ feature. This one is my favorite because it adds helpful features and doesn’t slow Chrome down or use up much of your system resources at all. See the bottom of this howto for links to a few other Extensions you may want to try if this one doesn’t suit you.

  1. Head over to the New Tab Page installation page.
  2. Click the ADD TO CHROME button.
  3. Click the Add button when prompted.
  4. Once the Extension has successfully installed, click the small ‘X’ in the corner of the notification window to close it.
  5. Now open a new Tab. You’ll be presented with a very simple page that’s easy on the eyes and includes a number of helpful features and shortcuts. As illustrated in the image below, the features are: 1. A Google Search Bar. 2. A list of the 6 sites you most frequently visit. You can change these ‘shortcuts’ by clicking the ‘X’ that appears when you hover your cursor over the link. 3. A simple news stream. The generated news articles are from the ‘Top Stories’ section of Google News. 4. A small, customizable “Weather Widget”.


    click to enlarge

  6. To customize the weather to your current location, click the Use current location. ‘button’.
  7. After a few seconds, it should refresh with the weather for your current location.
  8. And of course, quick-links to any Google Apps you may use.

As promised, here are a few other ‘new tab’ Extensions for Google Chrome –

  • Awesome New Tab Page – Has lots of very cool features – in theory. I found it to crash frequently, scrolling doesn’t work properly (a known bug for Mac users), and to get all the features to work, you have to install additional software.
  • Humble New Tab Page – Half way between “New Tab Page” – the Extention covered in this howto, and Awesome New Tab Page – the feature-rich-but-doesn’t-work-very-well Extention mentioned above. It works, and it has a few more features than “New Tab Page” – but I didn’t find them as helpful and it has a bit of a ‘cluttered’ look. You may love it.
  • Empty New Tab Page – The opposite of the other Extentions – this one opens a completely blank page – nothing more.