Google Chrome’s new tab is getting a little cluttered. Not long ago, it only included the search bar and a few rows of icons. But now you can see rows of cards offering recipes alongside text ads for Google products. And it’s all happening below a search box that you don’t really need since you’re probably using the address bar for that anyway.
The good news is that Chrome gives you some flexibility to customize the New Tab page, so you can make it look a lot cleaner in seconds. But if you find that this doesn’t help, there are several third-party extensions that can replace the new tab entirely.
Customize the page with a new tab in Google Chrome
To make the new tab page your own, open a new tab in Chrome, look at the bottom-right corner of the screen, and click Customize Chrome or pencil icon. From the window that pops up, you can customize the background image for the page, info cards, and even the Chrome color and theme.
Start by choosing a new background. There are several built-in options, most of which are image collections that will show you a new photo every day. If you get bored easily, this is an easy way to rotate different and beautiful images without having to think too much about it. But if you already have something in mind, you can upload an image file from your computer (including an animated GIF) and use it.
Now, let’s get the clutter out of the way. Under Shortcuts, you can decide what to do from the two rows of icons you see just below the search bar. You can use them to display your own custom set of web page shortcuts or automatically display the sites you visit most often. If none of these options work and you just want a cleaner look, Chrome also gives you the option to turn off these icons entirely.
[Related: You should add more search engines to Google Chrome]
You can do the same with the maps that sometimes appear at the bottom of the new tab page. Click on Maps and check the bubble to Hiding to stop seeing them altogether. But if you want to get random recipe ideas, abandoned online shopping cart reminders, or quick links to recently accessed files on your Google Drive, you can flip the switches to all or some of the items on this list.
If simplicity is the name of the game for you, just turn off these two features and you’ll have a much tidier page with a new tab. You won’t be able to get rid of the Google logo, search bar, or ads for Google products that sometimes appear at the bottom of the page. Fortunately, this is where browser extensions come in.
Replace the tab entirely
If you can’t stand Chrome’s new tab, you can replace it. There are hundreds of extensions that can do this for you, but here are our top three.
Tabliss is completely free, has no ads, and is built by an open source community, which means it’s likely to stay that way. It also has the added benefit of a beautiful, streamlined design.
By default, Tabliss will show you beautiful landscapes from the Unsplash photo repository, but you can also replace the background with animated GIFs with soothing textures from Giphy or a solid image of your choice.
Every time you open a new tab, Tabliss will greet you with the current time, but you can remove the clock and replace the text with things like a to-do list, a place to leave notes, and even NBA scores.
Tablis is free for Google Chrome.
Earth View by Google Earth is a free extension from Google that shows you a random spot on our planet every time you open a new tab – it’ll always be beautiful, interesting, or both.
And if you’re ever curious about what you’re watching, you can click on globe icon in the lower right corner of the screen to go directly to the actual location where the photo was taken on Google Maps.
View of Earth from Google Earth is free for Google Chrome.
Replace new tab
If there’s a website you want to use as a new tab page, New Tab Override lets you do just that. Choose any URL and Chrome will open it every time you open a new tab.
Replacing a new tab opens up the page space with a new tab, so you can use it in any number of ways. Productivity enthusiasts could have new tabs showing their app with a list of optional tasks, while sports fans could use a scoreboard. Or if you’re overwhelmed and want some ideas, check out this collection of landing pages created just for that purpose.
Replace new tab is free for Google Chrome.