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iChrome New Tab Page for Chrome – Part iGoogle, Part Google Now

Screen Shot 2014-01-12 at 17.07.19

Most of us use the New Tab Page in Chrome as a springboard to the web. With quick links to our favourite websites, handy access to apps and a giant search box ready for filling, it helps us get where we need to go. 

But could it more informative? Judging by the increasing number of third-party NTP replacements popping up the answer is a firm “yes”!

iChrome

iChrome is one of the leading New Tab Page replacements available. Part iGoogle, part Google Now, it serves up a wealth of info, handy tools and quick links every time you open a new tab.

With widgets for weather and news, info tiles for Gmail and Google Calendar and an interactive notepad, iChrome offers the chance to create a truly personalised new tab experience.

Among the widgets that can be added and rearranged are:

  • Google Search
  • Gmail Count
  • Most Visited Websites
  • Chrome Apps Shortcuts
  • News, Weather & Stocks
  • Notes & To-Do 
  • Time & Date

A variety of built-in themes are available; there are a number of layout options available; and optional extras, like ‘OK, Google’ hot-word voice search, can be enabled from the Settings pane.

Drawbacks

iChrome is not the smallest of extensions, clocking in at 10.8MB download, and the initial setup cannot be accessed once dismissed, leaving you without a way to configure it if the browser crashes before you’re done.

iChrome Settings

When configured the app runs well, though does sit on more RAM than many websites. Animations are fluid on my Samsung ARM Chromebook, though. The permissions required by the extension are also less than ideal:

  • Access your data on all websites
  • Read and modify your browsing history
  • Read your apps, extensions and themes

iChrome requires its extension address to be explicitly configured in Chrome Settings > New Tab > New Address to work as a new tab page, or another extension to be installed.

While not the easiest of new tab replacements to set up, it is one of the most configurable and useful.

Install iChrome in Chrome

iChrome is a free extension and works on Chrome and Chrome-based browsers.

iChrome New Tab Page

  • MrMiketheripper

    Gonna try this out. If it uses too much ram i’ll probably uninstall it but I do wanna see how it runs on my Samsung ARM Chromebook if it’s really fluid like you said :3

  • http://officialandreascy.blogspot.com/ The *Official AndreasCY*

    Interesting!

  • Curtis Mitchell

    Thank you for posting about this! iGoogle was my home page for years before we went through a messy breakup when it decided to go away. Hoping it runs good on the sARMsung but it will probably muck up my Windows chrome build even more. Oh well.

  • Avi Kohn

    Hi,

    Thank you for writing the article, I hope the extension lives up to it!

    I just added a link to show the installation guide again from the settings menu, I’ll release it with the next update.

    The update should also include Feedly, Reddit and Translate widgets.

    I just added an explanation on what permissions are needed and why here: http://uservoice.com/a/Hqmly

    I didn’t think that resources (RAM) would ever be an issue but I just looked through the code and it seems that Chrome is keeping data in memory even when the page isn’t open, I just made a change that should fix that.

    Thank you for trying it out,
    Avi

  • Merri Mogridge

    This is great on Ubuntu! Google have still to bring the new ‘New Tab’ page to Linux so this is a great alternative! The Gmail widget acted oddly for me though, I kept getting a popup asking me to login but when I did it just closed and re-opened the same popup. Maybe it’s because i have two-factor authentication enabled? Although the Calendar widget synched fine with my Google Account.

  • mrki

    Can’t add new bookmarks. Save button doesn’t work

  • Strani

    It’s a bit of a problem that this only works for Chrome. Since iGoogle closed I’ve been using http://www.start.me which works well for me and allows me to use it in Firefox and other browsers.

  • Blady_12

    great addon