For most, the Chrome New Tab feature tends to only serve as a means to launch a new web site for browsing or work. You click the New Tab button (or click the [Ctrl]+[t] key combination) and then type in the desired URL. Or maybe you'll take advantage of the pinned sites for quick access to one of your most frequented destinations.
But what if that New Tab feature could be so much more? Would you then be more inclined to make use of it? That's exactly what Infinity New Tab wants to bring to your Chrome experience.
I was one of those who never really made use of the New Tab feature beyond getting to a new site. That was until I met Infinity New Tab. With this Chrome extension, your New Tab becomes an actual means of productivity. Infinity New Tab allows you to:
- Add/remove items (bookmarks, apps, mailto links)
- Search the internet (including custom search engines)
- Change up the Chrome tab wallpaper with a single click
- Backup/recover your Infinity New Tab settings (free account required)
- Enjoy simple to use, built-in Todos and Notes apps
- Receive incoming Gmail notifications
- Get customized weather
- And more
The Infinity New Tab extension quickly becomes an ecosystem all to its own. Let's install this productive extension and see how it works.
The installation of Infinity New Tab is as simple as any Chrome extension. Here's how:
- Open Chrome
- Point the browser to the Infinity New Tab page in the Chrome Store
- Click ADD TO CHROME
- When prompted, click Add extension
- Allow the installation to complete
If you want to take advantage of the cloud backup/restore, you'll have to sign up for a free account. To do that click on the Chrome New Tab button and then, in the Infinity New Tab page, click the + button and then click Settings | General | Sign in or Register. In the resulting popup (Figure A), click Register and then enter an email address, password, and the verification (Captcha) code. Click Register and you're done.
The first thing you'll probably want to do is get rid of the bookmarks you won't use. To do that, right-click any one of the default bookmarks. The bookmarks will now appear with a small X in the upper right corner. Click the associated X for any bookmark you don't want. When you're done, left-click anywhere in the tab.
With that out of the way, we can now add new items. There are a number of ways you can add items. The easiest is to simply visit the URL in question and then click on the Infinity New Tab button that was automatically added to your Chrome toolbar (Figure B).
Another means of adding a new item is to click the + button that now appears in your New Tab window. In the resulting window (Figure C), you can either select from one of the Recommended items (there's quite a large selection), or you can add a custom item.
Adding a custom URL is simple:
- Click the + button on the Infinity New Tab window
- Click on Add Item | Custom
- Type or paste the address in the URL field (Figure D)
- Type a name for the item
- Select a color for the badge (or click Select Image and choose a custom image)
- Click Add item
Here's one little trick you can use to add an email contact to your Infinity New Tab. Walk through the same process for adding a new custom item, only in the URL field enter mailto:email@address (Where email@address is the actual address you want to use). Type a name for the contact and click Add Item. When you click that item it will open a compose window for your default email client.
Adding a custom search engine
From the Infinity New Tab page you can run a search from the likes of Google, Wikipedia, and more. You can also add a custom search. Say, for instance, you want to add TechRepublic as a search engine. Before you do this, you will have to locate the site's search address. To accomplish that you will go the site and run a search on any given string. For TechRepublic, I'll go to the site, click the Search button, enter something like linux in the field and hit Go. Now I'll copy the URL in the address bar, minus the string I searched for. For TechRepublic, that search address is http://www.techrepublic.com/search/?q=. Once you have that, follow these steps:
- From within the Infinity New Tab window, click the + button
- Click Settings | Search
- Give the search a name in the Name of Search Engine field
- Type (or paste) the search URL in the Replace the search parameter with the %field (Figure E)
- Add %s to the end of the search URL (so the URL becomes http://www.techrepublic.com/search/?q=%s)
- Click Add Search Engine
There are other features you can customize with Infinity New Tab, such as themes and how clicked items behave. I highly recommend you go through the rest of the settings to further customize this productive replacement for Chrome's standard New Tab window. Getting to know this handy extension will be time well spent. In the end, you'll grow used to having Infinity New Tab around and won't want to go back to the default.
- How to add extensions to desktop Chrome from Android Chrome (TechRepublic)
- How to pick the right Chrome OS channel (TechRepublic)
- How to clear your cache and cookies in every major web browser (TechRepublic)
- 5 Google Chrome extensions for saving yourself valuable time (TechRepublic)
- Chrome is the most popular web browser of all (ZDNet)
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.