Chrome’s performance is praised by a lot of people. Too bad we can’t say the same about its start page. Maybe its time to remedy that with these extensions.
Google Chrome is perhaps one of the most incredible browsers up to date. Although being a new addition to the well-known IE, Firefox, Opera and Safari, it quickly gained popularity and became a leader in the world of browsers. Sadly enough, Chrome’s new tab page feels pretty empty and useless compared to the ones of other browsers. The cool thing is that the Chrome Web Store offers us some solutions to this problem.
A really impressive and clever imitation of Google Now
Android users who enjoy Google Now technology have every reason to install this extension. It has a nice and clean interface, doesn’t interfere with the startup speed of Chrome, and everything looks just right. At the top we’ve got Google, along with voice search which surprisingly worked really well for me. Below that are the six most accessed websites, followed by Weather, News and Apps.
As good as this extension is, it seems a bit unfinished. The background on the top pane can’t be changed, the widgets can’t be rearranged, and the extension has no customization at all. In fact, the only option found in its settings is changing between Fo and Co for the Weather display.
Overall, this extension is what I would call a 50/50 – if you can overlook its faults then you could say it’s an average combination of simplicity and functionality.
For everyone who switched to Chrome from Opera
Custom backgrounds, quick access to applications, editable websites, easy categorization… The list goes on and on – FVD Speed Dial is the perfect extension for those who like to focus on favorite websites and customization. The extension is sleek, stylish, and it has an easy to use and configure interface. Every feature is flexible and customizable to every last detail.
What makes this extension stand out from all the others is the ability to sync your websites and personalize settings across multiple computers. You’ll be required to add an additional extension to do this, but it’s nice that the creators didn’t leave this out of this already feature-packed extension.
An extension with so many pluses MUST have a few downsides, right? Yup. The truth hurts, but FVD Speed Dial dramatically increases the startup time of Chrome. Combine it with the sync extension and you can expect to wait around seven seconds every time you start up the browser.
As a former user of FVD, I can say that the speed issues were the only reason I moved away from it. It’s kind of a shame that such a well-built extension suffers a lot from a lack of speed, but hey – sometimes you can’t have it all.
If you want a simple extension for quick access to your webpages, this is what you’re looking for
Speed Dial 2 and FVD are as similar as they are different. Both feature customizable websites, give you full control of the way webpages are displayed, the background, thumbnail and…chrome apps popping out from a side panel.
Unlike FVD, however, Speed Dial 2’s options are much better categorized and described. This makes tweaking and customizing a lot easier and more fun. Fairly enough, the extra work on the UI and settings also give the extension a good reason to charge you $2 if you want synchronization across mobile devices and computers.
And even if you don’t have money to spend on apps, the extension is good enough to provide you with an option to export all of your current settings into a text file which you can easily copy over to another computer.
Speed Dial 2 is perhaps the perfect Opera speed dial clone. It’s fast, doesn’t slow down Chrome’s startup, it’s easy to use and with a price of just two bucks for a lifetime sync account, it’s totally worth trying out.
Minimalist lovers and designers rejoice.
Clock and weather. Period. Not everything needs to be sophisticated to be functional and good looking. The extension called Currently for Chrome proves just that. Sometimes, all you need is a well-designed extension with smooth and pleasant animations to help you theme your browser just the way you wanted to. In fact, Currently is probably the only extension that has such a simple, yet elegant animation that unfolds each time you open a new tab.
The minimalist look and feel is kept all throughout the extension, even in the settings. You can tweak just a few display options and you have 9 basic colors to choose from. The only downside I can see here is that if you’re a bit more pretensions about colors, position and so on, this extension might not satisfy you with its rather limited customization.
The verdict – while Currently isn’t for everyone, it has something other widgets don’t – a unique look and a smooth performance that doesn’t affect Chrome’s load speeds. Whatever your taste, give Currently a try – you won’t be disappointed.
A surprisingly awesome combination of the Windows 8 “Metro” UI and Chrome.
Windows 8 may not be Microsoft’s most successful OS, but this genially crafted extension is a 100% winner. Quick access to websites, customizable background, bookmarks, apps, and even a cleverly designed imitation of Windows’ live tiles. My all-time-favorite feature here is the perfect copy of all of Windows’ original tile color schemes. You’re even allowed to define your own custom color combinations.
Similar to Currently, this extension also features a nice and quick entry animation, which is (surprisingly) different from the one in Windows 8. Nonetheless, it’s still pretty smooth. Enabling it will slightly slow down your Chrome startup, but it’s barely noticeable, and it’s definitely not a deal breaker. By the way, did you catch that groovyPost live tile switching just as I open the new tab? If you add groovyPost to your tiled websites, the RSS feed will automatically be detected, letting you know about each website’s latest articles and posts. Pretty cool, eh?
Although there are a lot more things I can say about the Modern New Tab Page, I think I’ll stop here. Being a slight Windows 8 hater myself, I find it rather funny how this is the extension which I like the most. You know what they say – don’t judge a book by its cover. Or in this case – don’t judge this extension by the Metro.