The Chrome New Tab page is the one part of the browser we all see multiple times a day. That makes any sudden change to its appearance not only noticeable but highly frustrating.
Hijacking of the new tab page was pretty prolific on Windows at one point, with all manner of software coming bundled with hidden opt-outs for toolbars, search engines and other PUPs (potentially unwanted programmes).
With Google limiting the installation of Chrome extensions to the Chrome Web Store on Windows this year, this practice has been severely curbed.
But it’s not the only way they’re helping users out.
While the blight of unsavoury software bundling affecting Chrome has been severely reduced by Google’s efforts, I do continue to receive mails from concerned folks desperate to get “their old browser start page” back.
It doesn’t matter whether it has changed through user error, say by inadvertently installing an extension they thought did something else, or a less tasteful manner. What matters is helping them get things sorted.
“Is this the new tab page you were expecting?”
Earlier this year Google added a confirmation dialog to Chrome.
Whenever a new tab page extension is installed (either intentionally, by the user from the Chrome Web Store, or unexpectedly through more nefarious means) a prompt asks whether they want to “Keep changes” or “Restore settings”.
The wording of the ‘restore settings’ could be clearer (“What settings? All settings? I don’t want to lose data… arrgh!!”) but it’s a great proactive initiative.
Knowing that not everyone will notice the changes, or may opt to ‘keep changes’ having intentionally installed a New Tab Page alternative they want to try for a while, Google goes one step further by making it easy to revert back at any time.
When a NTP add-on is installed and active the Settings page (or pane, if you’re on Chrome OS) offers a quick ‘disable’ button under the ‘On Startup’ section.
A small change but one that has a big impact — especially on my inbox count!