Many browser developers have started to fill the new tab page with life, usually a collection of favorite websites but sometimes more than that.
The idea is to offer users quicker access to often used services and websites and to increase the usefulness of the new tab page (since most browsers displayed a blank page in the past).
Desktop is a Firefox add-on that takes the concept a step further by offering to create a fully customized new tab page. Firefox users can add three elements to the page, they are:
Thumbnails are the main elements that are added to the new tab page, either directly or in subfolders to save space. It is possible to enter a website url using bookmark suggestions or a file from the local computer system. Thumbnails are automatically generated and displayed on the screen.
It is then possible to move the thumbnails freely around on the screen. They will stick to the grid easily and can be resized to fit the overall design.
Folders add another layer to the new tab page. A double-click on a folder leads to its own grid with options to add, align and resize thumbnails there.
A double-click on a thumbnail loads the website or file in the active tab, a middle-click in a new tab.
You can add a background image from their local PC to the new tab page if they want. Desktop is a promising add-on. It lacks a few features like the ability to browse the bookmarks directly or add a bookmark folder to the new tab page directly. It would also be nice if additional search providers would be added to the add-on.
Lastly the addition of dynamic contents like RSS feeds or news would be welcome.
Firefox users who want to try out Desktop can install the add-on directly from the official Mozilla Firefox add-on repository.
Update: The add-on has been removed from Mozilla. Much of what Desktop introduced back in 2010 has been integrated natively into the Firefox browser over the years. If you want more control, I suggest you give New Tab Tools a try as it offers that (for instance an option to set a custom background on the new tab page.
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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.