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 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.
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.
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.