Tuesday, January 7, 2014

New Tab Redirect

It's been a while since I've written any tech tips here (yes, yes--indeed a while since I've written anything here), so I thought I would mention a new Chrome extension that's improved my usage experience.

The problem: Whenever you open a new tab in Chrome, the tab defaults to Chrome's "New Tab Page," a landing page with a faux[1] Google search box and some tiles that go to frequently accessed websites. I do not want the New Tab Page to open every time I open a new tab; I'd like to be able to set my new tab page to anything I want. Alas, Chrome's built-in settings do not allow for this. You can set your startup page and your home page, but not your new tab page.

The solution: There is a Chrome extension called New Tab Redirect that solves the problem. Just install it, and you have the ability to set your new tab page to anything of your choosing, including locally hosted HTML pages. Super easy and, I think, a much better user experience.

[1]I use "faux" as a modifier here because the search box does not do anything, per se. It moves your cursor to the URL bar ("omni bar" in Google parlance), which allows you to execute search queries directly from it. I don't like this model, personally, because I disable auto-complete for searches in the URL bar for privacy reasons (I don't want all keystrokes in the URL bar sent to Google, regardless of whether I am searching). That said, when I do intent to search, I want auto-complete. So I always search from Google.com. So, in my particular case, I actually ended up using New Tab Redirect to set my new tab page to google.com. Seems like this should be a built-in option in Google Chrome.

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