6 Ways to Customize Your Chrome’s New Tab or Start Page

We take immense care while choosing wallpapers for desktop; same should be the case for New tab page of a browser. There are many extensions available at the Chrome Webstore to make your New tab page funky, productive and visually appealing. The chrome team is also trying to give a new look to the New tab page (you will see that feature in one of the next dev releases), if you can’t wait till that release then why not try these cool extensions?

#1.Speed Dial

Speed Dial is popular extension which replaces chrome’s New tab page with predefined visual bookmarks.

It has a highly visually appealing design. You can set up to 81 Dials with many combinations of rows and columns. Just enter image URL at the options page to set background image, alternatively you can select a theme. Displays search box and bookmark folders. It Uses Site logos as Speed Dials. Available in many languages like Russian etc. Use Speed Dial plus if you want to sync Dials with your bookmarks. The only disadvantage I found is, it doesn’t show Apps on the New tab page.

Screenshot

Link: Speed Dial

#2. Ultimate New tab

With Ultimate New tab you can view your apps, tabs (which are now opened), bookmarks and history at one place! Unlike Speed Dial you can integrate your favorite theme into the extension (you can either select the .crx file from your computer or load the theme URL). The extension loads the background and colors of the selected theme into the New tab page.

Screenshot

Link: Ultimate New Tab

#3. MyFav.es

It’s a simple, intuitive replacement for your chrome, instead of using site thumbnails as Dials, it uses sites’ favicons.  Its glossy look (you can select the icon style in settings) makes it different from others. It has a good collection of backgrounds too! You can get your own MyFav.es page like mine www.Myfav.es/Vibin.reddy, just sign into your Google or Facebook or Open ID to get your Personal URL. Like Ultimate New tab it also doesn’t show recently closed tabs which might be a big disadvantage.

(Tip –You don’t need to install the extension to use MyFav.es. You can keep http://www.myfav.es/fast as homepage; this will help you in decreasing memory consumption of chrome)

Screenshot

Link: MyFav.es

#4.Incredible Start page

It helps you to be productive throughout the day, scribble your tasks in the notepad, visualize your bookmarks and installed apps. You can also customize the background, the Flickr photo stream will keep you fresh throughout the day. You can also sync your notepad contents with your Google account using Chrome sync.

Screenshot

Link: Incredible Start Page

#5. Speed Dial 2

Speed Dial and Speed Dial 2 are made by two different developers, so don’t think of Speed Dial 2 as 2nd version of Speed Dial. I should say it better than Speed Dial because you can integrate your Delicious bookmarks (just enter your Delicious username to see your bookmarks in action), Import/export settings, search bookmarks in the side bar and many more. Like MyFav.es there are many Dial styles to choose from.

Screenshot

Link: Speed Dial 2

#6. Start!

I remember it’s the first extension that was developed on the idea of “New tab replacement” but certainly it’s not the best! I should say its interface is not that scenic when compared to rest of the extensions. You need to bookmark all the sites which you want to show (create a folder for them) on the Start! Page. If you are a RSS addict then you would definitely love this extension as you can view your favorite feed right from the New tab page!

Link: Start!

After reviewing these 6 extensions, I’m damn confused about which one to choose :D! So do you like any of these extensions? Will you customize the New tab page or are you satisfied with the old one? We are eager to hear from you!


Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Vibin Reddy. If you would like to write Guest Posts on Devils’ Workshop do look up this link.

9 Tips to Get The Most Out Of Your Google Chrome

Even though Google Chrome is not the most used browser (Firefox snatches the 1st place), it will defeat Firefox in the near future.

To be frank, Firefox 4 almost copied the interface of Google chrome! The only feature Chrome lacks (when compared to Firefox 4) is Panorama and toolbar support.

First to get most out of Chrome you need to switch to Developer channel or at least to the beta channel (I’m using Developer channel, so some of the tips I mention here may not available in your channel).

There are many interesting things to do in Chrome.

Here are 9 tips to get the most out of your Chrome browser.

#1. Make Your Own Custom Themes

You can find many good looking themes at Chrome Webstore but if you are thinking of something crazy like creating own Google chrome themes, then head on to Chrometheme.net or Chrome Theme Maker or Chromizer.

Read More about Chrome Theme Maker.

#2. Chrome Instant

Chrome Instant fastens searching and browsing. For this, the Omnibox (Chrome Address bar) will be logged. With Instant enabled, most pages begin loading as soon as you type a URL in the Omnibox, before you press Enter.

Just look up the wrench icon at top left and then click on Options. Under  Options you will can select “Enable Instant for faster searching and browsing” as you can see in the image below.

#3. AutoFill

With AutoFill you can enter your credentials like name, address, age etc in web forms with a single click. You can also save Credit card details so the next time you shop online, you don’t need to re-enter them.

For security purpose you can only see the last four digits of the credit card number. You can enter your AutoFill information on the Options page. 🙂

#4. Google Cloud Print

Google cloud print allows you access and share printers online. Using Google Cloud print you can make your printers available to your from any Google Cloud Print enabled web or mobile app.

To enable Google Cloud Print, sign in to your Google account on the options page and you’re done! Now you can send print jobs from your mobile to your windows computer.

Read More about Google Cloud Print.

#5. Manually Importing and Exporting Bookmarks

Xmarks has made exporting and importing bookmarks easy but you can also do it manually. Just head on to Bookmarks Manager (in your chrome browser), Open “Organize” menu and hit “Import bookmarks”. If you want to export bookmarks, then hit “Export bookmarks” in the same menu.

Remember that Chrome supports only HTML files (which contains bookmarks) to import bookmarks.

#6. Purge Memory

Chrome consumes lots of memory (than other browsers) which eventually slows down a PC, but if you’re on the developer channel then you can make use of purge memory button to decrease the memory usage of Chrome.  By default “Purge memory” doesn’t appear in chrome but you can make it appear by adding the ”–purge-memory-button”

(Check this YouTube tutorial on how to add command line switches to Chrome) command line switch, and you’ll be able to free up unused memory via button on the chrome task manager.  Check out the image below, I freed up about 22,000K memory in less than a second!

Proof

#7. Create Application shortcuts

You can create application shortcuts to websites that you regularly visit, as well as apps that you have installed from the Chrome Web Store.

These shortcuts can be placed on your computer desktop, quick launch toolbar and start menu for quick and easy access. Application shortcuts don’t have any other attachments like new tab page, address bar, wrench icon etc.

To create an application shortcut for a webpage, go to the webpage and click wrench icon > Tools > Create application shortcut.

#8. Useful Shortcuts

Another great way to use Chrome efficiently is to use all the useful shortcuts.

  • Ctrl + Esc ® Task Manager
  • Ctrl + Shift + B ® Hides Bookmarks bar
  • Ctrl + Shift + N ® Incognito window (Private browsing)
  • Ctrl + N ® New Window
  • Ctrl + T ® New Tab
  • Ctrl + U ® View source of current webpage
  • Ctrl + F ® Opens the find bar
  • Ctrl + J ® Downloads
  • Ctrl + Shift + D ® Saves all open pages as bookmarks

Those are some of my favorites; you can check Mac and Linux shortcuts here

#9. Chrome Channel changer

Chrome Channel changer makes it easy to switch between Google chrome channels (Stable, Beta and Dev). These channels only differ in frequency of updates. Personally, I prefer to go with Beta channel. You can download the app here.

So are these tips useful for you? Do share your tips and experiences with Chrome!

Link: Chrome Beta Channel | Chrome Developer Channel