When you open a new tab in Google Chrome, you get the speed dial—a shortcut for all your favorite sites and apps. But you can customize the New Tab page in many ways. For example, there are special New Tab extensions that do much more, like enhancing your productivity, acting as shortcuts for your favorite web apps, and so on.
The problem usually is that these extensions put form over functionality. You will usually open a new tab when you have a destination in mind, so your eyes are going to rest on it only for a few seconds. Wouldn’t you rather that the tab looked beautiful, then?
I wanted to give your eyes a visual treat, so I dug around for the most gorgeous new tab extensions on Chrome.
Let’s start with the simplest of the lot. Wallcat adds a new, hand-picked wallpaper every day to your New Tab page. Yes, it’s a high-resolution wallpaper (I checked on a Full HD monitor), and there are even categories or “channels” for different tastes. I personally recommend Fresh Air, but you can try others out or stick to “random” to get a new style every day.
Let’s say all you want to check when you open a new tab is the time right now. A gentle reminder, if you will. Get New Tab Clock and you’ll be set. In one minimalistic screen, you’ll see the current time, date, and day. It’s lightweight and customizable, letting you choose a background color, change the font, and set it a 12-hour or 24-hour clock.
Oh this is a special one right here. Reddit’s r/earthporn community is renowned for the incredible photos users share in it, showing life on Earth at its finest. From lush green landscapes to serene water bodies, and from the flow of a waterfall to the beautiful blue skies above a desert, you’ll find beauty in every photo here.
Tab.pics just puts those photos in your New Tab, complete with credit to the original uploader. You can even add your most frequently visited sites, if you miss the speed dial feature.
Google Earth grabs some impressive spots on our planet from its eye-in-the-sky satellites. And you can now check out the most beautiful ones every time you open a new tab. Along with the image, you’ll see which part of the Earth it’s from, get an option to open it in Google Maps, or download it for your desktop wallpaper. It’s a new image each time, but if you want to go back to one you liked, the History feature displays the last 10 satellite images you were shown.
If you want to travel more, you need to open yourself up to inspiration and opportunity. Take it from an abstract concept to a real possibility. Wandertab helps you in this quest by showcasing incredible places you can visit, along with the flight cost to get there.
Of course, you’ll first need to sign into Hitlist to give it your details (time, destination, taste, and budget, among others) so that it can build your wanderlust profile. Then you’ll get a large picture of a possible destination along with the best flight cost, so you never miss out on a great deal.
Architecture blog ArchDaily follows great projects around the world, and always complements its research with wonderful images. The ArchDaily New Tab displays these stunning pictures when you press Ctrl+T, along with the current time and a gentle message that corresponds with the time.
There are two other integrations to make it more useful, if you want. First, you can check out the three most visited articles from the site today. Second, you can add your Google Calendar to be notified of upcoming events. Beautiful and useful!
Take Four [No Longer Available]
Here’s a hidden gem for photography lovers. If you like to discover awesome photographers on Instagram, Take Four is what you need. Every time you open a New Tab, Take Four will show you four brilliant images by a talented Instagrammer. Click on any image to open it and read the description. And if you know a photographer who should be featured and deserves more fame, submit a tip.
You probably know about Momentum, the popular New Tab productivity extension for Chrome. Leoh is a lot like Momentum, only more minimalistic and streamlined. A gorgeous image, flat panels, and perfectly chosen fonts make it more beautiful than Momentum, in my opinion, while retaining functional features like a to-do list, a daily goal, a note taker, and more. And if you need ultimate relaxation, try the Zen Mode for soothing video backgrounds!
Tupiq [No Longer Available]
Google Calendar can organize your life efficiently and alert you about upcoming events. But if you want to check the next event without opening the Calendar, Tupiq is what you need. Tupiq puts a beautiful background wallpaper behind a card carrying your next event, how many minutes it is in, along with the weather for today and the next two days.
Let’s say you want the functionality of the current Chrome New Tab page, but also the beauty of some of these extensions mentioned here. Dream Afar will make it happen. You can customize this tool so that your most visited sites, history, bookmarks, apps, current time, and the search bar are all shown on the page—but in a way where it doesn’t take away from the breathtaking image being served up by the extension.
Another New Tab extension where you get form with function, Zen Tab is about keeping things minimalistic. The wallpaper is complemented by an overlayed dark pane on the right, which has the current time, weather, your most visited sites, as well as a small notepad. It’s a matter of taste, and I like how Zen Tab puts all the tools in one part of the screen rather than scattering them across in different elements.
Beautab Productivity Dashboard [No Longer Available]
Being productive doesn’t have to mean being ugly. Beautab is a bit like Limitless, an excellent productivity companion, but this one is far more appealing. It will track the time you spend on non-work sites, serve you a gorgeous new image and motivational quote every day, and show you the current time. With its built-in tools, you can set goals for the day, week, or month, and manage a to-do list of tasks.
New Tab, New Visions
Of all these add-ons, Take Four is my favorite and my current New Tab extension. But there are probably other awesome ways to spruce up your Chrome’s New Tab page. Which other gorgeous New Tab extensions have you used?