And… It is very fuddy-duddy.
If you are a Chrome user on Windows or Mac, you may have seen that Google's last update to version 29 brought some very easy-to-notice changes to the New Tab Page.
This is the screen, or page, most users see when they click an "Open New Tab" button on the browser panel.
- Google's doodle and search bar now takes half of the page
- Previews of the most visited pages are smaller, because of p.1 above
- The Recently Closed Tabs link in the bottom-right corner has gone to the menu
- The same place is where you can now find the "Other devices" list
- The Apps button has been moved to the Bookmarks panel
- Google Plus and Share are now mandatory parts of the New Tab page.
Of course, there are ways to fix most of the changes.
In particular, the Apps button can be removed by right-clicking on the bookmarks bar and selecting the item "Show app shortcut".
The other points from the list, like the Share button and Google doodle and search bar, can be removed by navigating to URL chrome://flags/ and setting the parameter Enable Instant Extended API to Disable status. I found this advice on The Next Web site.
However, these "fixes" or "workarounds" do not make me any happier.
Do you know why I moved to Chrome since it was released in 2008? Because of the speed of loading and browsing. Before that, I was a long-term IE fan. But IE had become sluggish and slow by 2008. Chrome was just a breakthrough, a gasp of fresh air. It was a clear winner. I liked the speed, I liked the interface. I even wrote an article on how to convert Firefox to look Chrome-ish for those who prefer the Firefox core.
Now it is the autumn of 2013. It seems like the browser wars made all the major competitors, Chrome, Firefox and IE, invent and improve. It means that the speed of Chrome's "cold start" and page rendering is no longer a case-breaker. I can definitely say that sometimes Chrome start takes about the same as IE or Firefox. Of course, there are some sophisticated measurements and benchmarks. You can find lots of them in the Internet, and I am not much interested in them. I am just a regular user with my specific needs and my specific experiences.
Other Chrome features, which were unique, are now widespread: omnibox for quick search, most used pages, multi-device synchronization. Firefox does them all, IE does some of them.
The only feature which I still need to see in Firefox or IE is the option to auto-detect "search engine" on the site and include it in the list of search engines for the browser. It gives you an option to use the Tab key to go directly to the site's search function when you type the site's address in the omnibox.