Don't like Chrome's new tab page? Change back to the old!
Change is not always a good thing and while I'm not anti-change at all, I only welcome it if it makes sense or aids me in a way or another. I have talked about that previously in regards to Firefox and also Windows 8, and it appears to me that companies seem more inclined to change things - even long standing features like the start menu - in their products than they were ten or so years ago.
Google is a company that tweaks its products a lot. No matter where you look, search, Google+, YouTube, you will find many changes and loads of A-B tests.
The Chrome browser has seen its fair share of changes as well, be it through the use of field trials which are tests run on live versions of the browser, things that freaked me out like the missing search field or the white context menu that Google implemented for touch devices but enabled for all.
The new tab page in the browser is another case where a change may not be in the best interest of users.
It displays four popular tabs instead of eight that were listed on the previous version of the page. Apps and bookmarks are still listed on it, but the option to restore tabs or a window is no longer included. It appears that you need to open the History now to restore tabs or pages that you closed in the browser.
There is however an easy way to restore the old tab page in Chrome:
- Type chrome://flags into the browser's address bar and hit the enter key on the keyboard.
- Tap on F3 to open the on page find box and paste Enable Instant extended API in to the box.
- The only search result highlights that the feature is enabled by default.
- To disable it, switch the menu to disabled.
- Click on the relaunch button that appears once you do so.
When you open a new tab page now in Chrome you are greeted by the old tab page again in the web browser.
Update: In the most recent versions of Google Chrome, Google removed the Instant Extended API which means that you cannot disable the feature anymore to return to the old "new tab page" in the Chrome web browser.
What you can do however is to install a browser extension to modify the new tab page in Google Chrome so that it offers different functionality.
Please note that the current version of Chrome's new tab page displays eight thumbnails of visited sites again, instead of the four that it used to display.
The extension that comes closes is Old New Tab which displays the same New Tab Page as older versions of Chrome.
Update 2: Google has removed the workaround that Old New Tab used to display the "old" New Tab Page in Google Chrome. The extension cannot be used anymore, and we have removed the link to it as a consequence.
Probably the best solution right now is the Speed Dial 2 extension. It gives you more control over the sites displayed on the new tab page and works really well.