If your primary web browser is Google Chrome then it’s more likely that its “New Tab” page appears annoying to you.
I’m one of those who prefers to keep the number of web browser extensions or mobile apps as minimum as possible. But at the same time I make sure that I have all the tools I want.
So if you want to customize the “New Tab” page then there are so many extensions available on the Chrome web store. Yes, Google is improving the appearance of the “New Tab” page but you still can’t customize it the way you want.
Now It Looks Like:
The default New Tab page can be distracting in a number of ways. Since it shows random websites most probably you will end up visiting those websites even if you didn’t want to. So it means you will be spending more time browsing.
However since every person has a different browsing behavior their preferences differ. I’m going to assume that you need a perfect page that has all the links to your favorite websites (and apps). In that case what you basically need is a New Tab extension that features your favorite websites.
You’re certainly going to get confused if you search the Chrome web store as there are dozens of extensions that do this job.
I have tried many of them over the past several years and I find Speed Dial 2 as the best extension. Why? Because we can customize it the way we want. You can customize almost everything that you see in Speed Dial 2’s New Tab page.
My Google Chrome’s Speed Dial 2 Page Looks Like:
It’s basically a replacement for Google’s default “New Tab” page and it allows you to set your own favorite webpages and apps as the new shortcuts.
“Speed Dial 2 is fast and clean extension for your favorite pages and quick access to your apps, bookmarks and browsing history.”
What I really like the most about this extension is that you can set your own images as the shortcut icon. If you’re using Chrome’s “New Tab” page then you know that it can’t be customized. Google Chrome automatically shows each website’s thumbnail as the shortcut icon and it causes some kind of anxiety whenever I see sites that are not supposed to be there.
Also, with Speed Dial 2 you can customize each shortcut’s URL, name, and the thumbnail image. Also, when you enter Speed Dial 2 options you can customize the number of columns, dial spacing, order, thumbnail ratio, screen width, dial style, background, etc.
If you’re using a lot of Chrome apps then you can show the Apps panel on your Speed Dial 2’s New Tab page and can customize its appearance.
Again it has its own customizable sidebar that shows the Recently closed tabs, Apps, and Bookmarks (from Chrome or Google bookmarks or Delicious or Pinboard).
If you pay $1.99 (one-time fee) then you can access your Speed Dial 2 bookmarks from your web browser or mobile web browser. That’s not all, as a premium member all your bookmarks will be synced across all your computers and mobile devices.
If you don’t want to become a paid member and want to use Speed Dial 2 on multiple computers then you can use the Import/Export feature of this extension as it allows you to import/export your dials and settings to another computer.
The only drawback about Speed Dial 2 extension is that it affects Chrome’s startup time to some extent. So you may have to wait when you open Chrome first time after a reboot. But I don’t think that this startup delay is going to be a problem as concurrent browser sessions are not affected.
Looking for alternatives? Try the following extensions:
New Tab To Tasks – If you use Google Tasks as your task manager then this add-on will make Google Tasks your New Tab page.
Empty New Tab Page – As the name suggests this extension displays a blank page instead of the regular New Tab page with thumbnails and apps.
New Tab Redirect – It allows you to set a custom URL as your New Tab page.