Chrome is in a perpetual interface test. Every few weeks, we discover a new flag that turns things around like putting the URL bar at the bottom or eschewing the large tab cards for a smaller grid tab switcher. Google seems ready to settle on the latter as the latest Chrome Dev and Canary use this as the default layout but with a busier look that mashes elements from the new tab page into the tab switcher, with lots of icons, bars, and toggles. Read More
Google Chrome has always been pretty customizable through extensions, apps, and of course, themes from the Web Store, which allow you to give your browser a personal look. Now, Google appears to be working on integrating the latter right inside the browser itself, as a new flag surfaced on Chrome Canary that adds a theme picker in the Customize shortcut on the new tab page. Read More
Earlier this year, an anti-trust lawsuit in Russia led Google to make some changes with Chrome on Android. The settlement required Google to develop a search widget that uses any search engine, which shipped as part of Chrome 60. Chrome also now asks users in Russia to pick a search engine when first installed. In a related move, Google is adding support for custom search engine logos in Chrome for Android. Read More
Google's Chrome team often experiments with different UI changes, with some ending up in the stable release and some not. "Chrome Home UI" recently made its debut, with its rounded elements and bottom nav bar. The latest feature to be tested on Chrome Canary introduces categorized content on the new tab page. Read More
Back in Chrome 54, Google replaced Chrome for Android's New Tab page with a new design that prominently featured suggested content - much like Google Now's feed. To quote Douglas Adams, "This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move." Switching to the old design was possible by disabling a few Chrome flags, but the recent Chrome 58 update removes this ability.
If you're not a fan of Chrome's cluttered New Tab page, there are a few workarounds you can try to make it a bit more usable. You can even mix and match features to create a more personalized design. Read More
Google can't seem to make up its mind - at least when it comes to Chrome's New Tab Page. It received a massive change in Chrome 54, and was further altered in Chrome 56. Now, once again, the page has been updated in Chrome Dev 59. Read More
If you haven't yet filled up your New Tab page with icons from frequently visited websites, then Chrome has the perfect flag for you. Digging into the chrome://flags page, you'll find an option under chrome://flags/#enable-ntp-popular-sites that will pre-populate the New Tab page with eight popular websites so it doesn't look as empty.
Google likes to tinker with the UI of the mobile version of Chrome's user interface in the Dev and Beta versions of the app. Not every change we spot in these versions makes it into the standard, stable version of Chrome, but the changes to the New Tab page that we saw back in August seem to have made their way to the front. We're getting tips and reports from dozens of Chrome users that the UI change, which swaps out six website thumbnails for eight site icons instead, is now live. Read More
Want to see something new in Chrome for Android? Aside from essentially unlimited websites, of course. If so, and if you're using Android 5.0, 5.1, or the 6.0 preview, then download either the Beta or Dev version of the browser. Then go into the Settings menu and disable "merge tabs and apps." Now, go back to the main browser window, open the hamburger menu, and tap "new tab." Wey-hey, you've got a new interface to check out.
Left: new tab in Chrome. Right: new tab in Chrome Beta/Dev after disabling merged tabs.
The new standard swaps out the frequently-visited website thumbnails you're probably familiar with for icons, which are simply letters with some fancy background formatting. Read More
In March we covered work the Chromium team has been up to that changes the way most visited websites appear on Chrome's new tab page. Instead of a grid of (largely blank) thumbnails, the browser can display large icons instead. At the time, users had to force the feature while running Chrome Canary. Now you just have to toggle "Enable large icons on the New Tab page" at chrome://flags/#enable-icon-ntp.
The feature is still in development, but it's stable enough to use. Right now Chrome only displays icons for websites that have images large enough not to look blurry. Those that don't pass this bar show a gray block containing the first letter of the domain. Read More