Google Chrome’s new tab page is a mess. Here’s how to make it better.
Take advantage of Chrome's built-in customization tools or install an extension instead.
Google Chrome’s new tab page is getting a bit cluttered. Not long ago, it featured only the search bar and a few rows of icons. But now you can see rows of cards suggesting recipes, alongside text advertisements for Google products. And this is all happening below a search box you don’t actually need since you’re likely using the address bar for that anyway.
The good news is that Chrome gives you some flexibility to customize the new tab page, so you can have it look a lot cleaner within seconds. But if you find that doesn’t cut it for you, there are a few third-party extensions that can replace the new tab page entirely.
Customize the new tab page on Google Chrome
To make your new tab page your own, open a new tab in Chrome, look to the bottom-right corner of the screen, and click on Customize Chrome or the pencil icon. From the emerging window, you can customize the background image for the page, the information cards, and even Chrome’s color and theme.
Start by selecting a new background. There are a few built-in options, most of which are image collections that will show you a new photo every day. If you get bored easily, this is an easy way to rotate different and beautiful images without having to think about it much. But if you already have something in mind, you can upload an image file from your computer (including an animated GIF) and use that.
Now, let’s get rid of some clutter. Under Shortcuts, you can decide what to make of the two rows of icons you see right below the search bar. You can use them to show your own customized set of webpage shortcuts, or automatically display the sites you visit most often. If neither of those options works and you just want a cleaner look, Chrome also gives you the ability to turn these icons off entirely.
[Related: You should add more search engines to Google Chrome]
You can do the same with the cards that sometimes show up at the bottom of the new tab page. Click on Cards and check the bubble next to Hide to stop seeing them altogether. But if you like getting random recipe ideas, reminders of abandoned online shopping carts, or quick links to recently accessed files on your Google Drive, you can toggle the switches to all or some of the items on this list.
If simplicity is the name of the game for you, just turn these two features off and you’ll have a much tidier new tab page. You won’t be able to get rid of the Google logo, the search bar, or the ads for Google products that occasionally show up at the bottom of the page. Fortunately, this is where browser extensions come in.
Replace the tab entirely
If you can’t stand Chrome’s new tab page, you can replace it. There are hundreds of extensions that can do this for you, but here are our top three.
Tabliss is entirely free, has no ads, and is built by an open-source community, which means it’s likely to stay that way. It also features the added benefit of a beautiful, streamlined design.
By default, Tabliss will show you beautiful landscapes from stock photo repository Unsplash, but you can also replace the background with animated GIFs of calming textures from Giphy or a solid image of your choosing.
Whenever you open a new tab, Tabliss will greet you with the current time, but you can remove the clock and replace the text with things like a to-do list, a place to leave notes, and even NBA scores.
Tabliss is free for Google Chrome.
Earth View from Google Earth is a free extension from Google that shows you a random place on our planet every time you open a new tab—it’ll always be beautiful, interesting, or both.
And if you’re ever curious about what you’re looking at, you can click the globe icon in the bottom right corner of the screen to jump directly to the real location the photo was taken in Google Maps.
Earth View from Google Earth is free for Google Chrome.
New Tab Override
If there is a website you wish you could use as a new tab page, New Tab Override lets you do just that. Choose any URL, and Chrome will open it every time you open a new tab.
New Tab Override opens up the space in the new tab page so you can use it in all sorts of ways. Productivity enthusiasts could have new tabs display their to-do list app of choice, while sports fans could use a scoreboard. Or if you’re overwhelmed and want some ideas, check out this collection of start pages built for exactly this purpose.
New Tab Override is free for Google Chrome.