Are you ready to be introduced to the best New Tab/Start Page since the beginning of Google Chrome? Well you better get ready because it’s coming! Actually, it has already been around for several months now and has built quite a user base of “currently” over 120,000 users.
The extension is called Currently and it has made its way to our Best Of Chrome Extensions page. What does it do? Currently is a fast loading “theme” for your New Tab page that displays the current and upcoming weather and current time. I’ve personally been using it since it launched in August of 2012. There are quite a few New Tab and Start page extensions, but Currently reigns among the best, including the Speed Dial and Awesome New Tab Page extensions. It is completely designed with you in mind so let’s take a look at what it has to offer!
Adds Functionality Without Removing Features
One of the biggest drawbacks of a New Tab page is that even with some added benefits, you also might lose features, such as access to Chrome’s default New Tab page or just an overall decrease in browser loading time and performance. This is not the case with Currently as it provides quick and easy access to the default New Tab page. I also haven’t noticed any decrease in performance. Actually, whenever I switched to making Currently my start page in place of the website MyFav.es, Chrome started up even faster since it didn’t have to load a web page.
At the time of this article, there are two primary components to Currently: time and weather. There are settings to customize it as well, but we will cover that later on.
TIP: To make Current your Start Page, go to the Chrome settings and under the On startup, check the option Open the New Tab page.
Slick, Modern, Minimalistic Interface
The interface is what really sets Currently apart from all the other New Tab page alternatives. Sure many have a lot of features and customizability, but if their interfaces don’t have a clean and modern look to it, I personally don’t find them very appealing. Currently on the other hand is appealing.
You’re probably thinking, “Alright, so Currently looks nice. But what happens when I want to resize the browser?” Great question! This is what happens.
I was impressed with that whenever I first saw it. Now granted, if the browser is resized too far, Currently doesn’t “currently” adjust the size of text or icons, so there is some interface issues with that. This has been brought up to the Currently developers, which they stated that “a responsive design is in the works”, meaning that it will conform to the size of your browser. I personally don’t see this as much of an issue (unless you use a netbook) as the majority of the time I have my browser either full screen or docked to one side, both of which Currently works well in.
In the lower right hand corner, you will notice three icons (pictured above). The first is the Weather Underground logo, which takes you directly to the page with your current weather (pictured below). The second is a gear, which takes you to the settings. And the third is a rectangle full of smaller rectangles, which is the link to Chrome’s default tab page.
Customizable To Your Tastes
Now on to the settings. First, to access them, click on the gear icon in the lower right corner of the browser. There aren’t a lot of customizable options with Currently, but all of the ones that are available or necessary – it’s all about being minimalistic, yet offering enough to appeal to all the users.
The options that will probably be of the most interest to you lie in the System tab. Here you can choose to display the temperature in Fahrenheit or Celsius. The time is also adjustable in either 12 hour and 24 hour modes. There are a plethora of languages to choose from, so you’re sure to find yours (although I can’t guarantee that obviously). And lastly, you can choose your location.
Next is the layout where you can toggle animation that is shown upon loading a new tab and also choose whether to show the seconds on the clock.
Currently is also designed to pretty much fit into any color of theme that you have, with 9 colors to choose from and a toggle between light and dark text.
Developers Who Are Willing To Help And Listen
Currently isn’t just a solid extension with excellent features and a clean interface, but it also has developers that stand behind it, make themselves available for you to contact. The developers, Henry and Vitaly, use their organization, Rainfall, as a front for Currently and their other projects they have going on. They use UserVoice to provide customer service and allow users to make suggestions and stay updated on what features are in progress. They also keep their users updated through their blog.
Overall, through my use of Currently, I’ve been very impressed by the look, feel and responsiveness of Currently. As of now, it has enough features to satisfy me, but it’s nice to know also that they’re working on fixes for known issues and also to add more features. But don’t worry, Currently will never be a cluttered mess full of “features” – it’s not known for that and they want to keep it that way.
If you appreciate minimalism, but also want something that adds some additional functionality to your New Tab page, without affecting the overall performance of your browser, definitely give Currently a try and let us know what you think too.
Do you use a Chrome weather tab or time tab Currently? If so, what do you like most about it? If you don’t use Currently, go download it from the Chrome Web Store and check it out for yourself. Then come back here and share your thoughts with us!