Saturday, February 25, 2012

Get a better ‘New Tab’ page in Chrome with Speed Dial’s wall-to-wall thumbnail bookmarks

Get a better ‘New Tab’ page in Chrome with Speed Dial’s wall-to-wall thumbnail bookmarks:

Speed Dial Screenshot1
If you’ve been using Chrome for a while you may have grown fond of the ‘New Tab’ page, which displays frequently visited sites as thumbnails. But if you’ve wished that you could push the New Tab page a little further then check out this Chrome extension. Speed Dial lets you: add more than 8 websites to the page, choose permanent websites rather than the most visited, and preserve your bookmarks beyond a Chrome cache cleanup (in contrast to the ‘New Tab’ page). Moreover, Speed Dial can add a few useful features, such as a Google search box, a bookmarks or recently accessed sites bar, and even the ability to customize site icons or the background image.

I have gotten quite used to the ‘New Tab’ page in Chrome and I will confess that I have been looking for something like this for a while, if only because I wanted more than 8 thumbnails on the page. So far, I am really liking Speed Dial.

One thing I really like about Speed Dial is the ability to add sites right from the address bar, via the little Speed Dial icon (see screenshot below).

Speed Dial Screenshot2

Moreover, the options page provides a large degree of customization options, including how many columns and rows, the distance that thumbnails should have from each other, the color scheme, and other options.

Speed Dial Screenshot3

But here’s how Speed Dial can get even better:

  • The ability to use a LOCAL wallpaper background or site icon. Currently, Speed Dial will only accept URLs for these

  • Improved screenshot grabbing for some sites; specifically, Speed Dial doesn’t seem to do very well with sites that require logins.

  • An apps section, that simply replicates the apps section from Chrome’s ‘New Tab’ would be good.

The verdict: I love this one. If you like the ‘New Tab’ page in Chrome but would like it to be more flexible, get Speed Dial; you will not be disappointed.

Get Speed Dial here.

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