Whenever a user opens a new tab in Firefox, which usually is done with the shortcut Ctrl-t or by clicking on the plus icon in the tab bar, the tab that appears is completely blank and does not provide any information whatsoever.
Now this is different if you middle-click a link or bookmark because this action will load the website the link points to directly in the new tab.
Update: Things have changed in recent time. Firefox displays a new tab page with often visited websites (or a custom selection of sites), and a search form instead nowadays.
A blank tab however is not useful at all. A better solution would be to open another website or service instead of a blank tab. Preferably something that is quick to load, is usually the right choice and does not delay the process for too long if you want to go somewhere else instead.
A tab is usually created when you want to open a new url or search for something. You could hit Ctrl-t, type the address you want to visit and hit enter.
What if a search engine is used most of the time or another site like Facebook? Would not it improve things by a lot if that site would be loaded automatically whenever a new tab is opened?
That is the basic idea behind the New Tab URL extension for Firefox. You can select a default url that opens when a new blank tab is created in the browser. This can the homepage set in the browser, the current page, a blank (default) page or a custom url.
The extension offers another nice feature. If you have copied an address to the clipboard and open a new tab page in Firefox afterwards, it will load that address automatically.
Update: The extension does not work out of the box anymore in recent versions of the Firefox browser. You need to perform the following fix to get it working again:
The custom url is probably the only option that makes sense here for most users who have installed the extension. You can select a search engine like google, Startpage or Bing, a social networking site like Twitter or Facebook, a shopping site like eBay or Amazon, or the weather report site.
Update 2: Mozilla removed browser.newtab.url in recent versions of Firefox. You can still install add-ons to restore options to customize the browser's New Tab page. You can use the extension New Tab Override for that for instance.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.