Did you know that Google provide a separate New Tab page in Chrome for Russian users? Neither did I until recently.
It’s not installed in Chrome by default but it is an official Google extension that offers localised news, weather, and links to some google services of use to Russian web users.
But is there more to it than some kind-hearted localised-loveliness on the part of the big G? I think so.
Take a good look at the layout. That huge search bar seem familiar? If you’re on the Chrome Dev channel it may well.
And those little thumbnails beneath it – these were spotted briefly on the New Tab of previous Chrome Dev builds.
Given that we now know that Google Now will be appearing in Chrome at some point soon, the pretty Weather and News cards make sense.
Finally, putting the ‘Apps’ on the same page as the search bar and thumbnail shortcuts gives them greater exposure (you’d be surprised how many people don’t realise there’s an ‘apps’ page in Chrome…)
Why Revamp It?
But why revamp the New Tab page? Isn’t it good enough already?
It’s certainly functional, for sure. But it could be better. Should Google decide to integrate more of its services into it the new tab page becomes more useful than it is now. More of a starting point for exploring the web rather than a simple ‘spring-pad’ for your existing habits.
Google would benefit from increased exposure of their ancillary web services – and so would users.