There’s only one thing wrong with Google Chrome’s New Tab page – you have very little control over what’s placed on there. Oh, and you can’t change the icons to help you quickly pick out the site you’d like to access. And, while we’re at it… Okay, so there’s quite a lot wrong with Chrome’s New Tab page, but the theory is brilliant: you open a new tab, and instead of a blank page or your homepage you get a selection of your favourite sites represented as clickable shortcuts.
Speed Dial for Chrome takes the great idea and actually manages to deliver on it. Once installed, the extension’s button appears in your Address bar: browse to one of your favourite pages, click the button and select Add Current Page. Now, when you open a new tab, that website will always be available to you. By default, a thumbnail image of the page you’ve added is displayed, but that’s frankly pap: right-click the entry and choose Edit Dial, and you can change the logo to something more eye-catching – either by selecting from the dozens of pre-defined icons representing major websites, or by inserting your own image URL (typically the site’s own logo) instead.
By default, 12 can be placed on the page at once – you can click and drag them into any order you like, or click the Options button to get more choices, such as altering the number of rows and columns displayed to increase or decrease the number of shortcuts visible on the Speed Dial page. You can also change the colour scheme, opt to have thumbnails refreshed at set intervals and even hide the Speed Dial icon from the Address Bar assuming you’ve finished adding the sites you need.
The only downside with this useful extension is that it does suffer from bugs, and has been known to corrupt and lose its settings – however, version 2.1 will hopefully rectify some of these problems. For now, though, use with reasonable caution.
Speed Dial for Chrome is how the New Tab page should work – shame it has stability and corruption issues on some machines.