March 6th, 2014 | Published in Software
Take a look at the pristine Google Chrome start page below. If you like what you see, just open this article in Chrome and follow along. In a few clicks, your Chrome start page will become as clean and clutter-free as the one in the picture below.
To begin, let me ask you this question: are you a fan of Google Chrome as far as Internet surfing? For example, if you asked me, I would say I am not. I consider it a sub-browser in a lot of ways as it lacks many features I rely on when running my daily web errands, and if you are wondering what I use for those, the answer would be Firefox (although you are totally free to have your own opinion). However, there is one area where Chrome can still be quite usable, at least for me. And yes, I am talking Google applications.
You don’t really need much browser power to use Google apps: the Silicon Valley giant has made sure all its services are fast and lean, and since Chrome is well in line with this philosophy, Google’s very own browser seems like an ideal choice to run anything Google.
Unfortunately, there is one slight issue with this choice: if your idea of a clean start page is similar to mine, you might be out of luck with Chrome. The closest to ‘clean’ you get is the ‘New Tab’ page, which in fact is not clean at all.
Do I need to see all this mumbo jumbo every time I launch Chrome? Come on, give me a break!
At this point you might think that ‘about:blank’ could be the answer, but no, it is not — for the single reason that it has an address. If you set it as your default start page, Chrome will be opening to this pseudo URL, and if you had some keyword or address in mind, when you start typing it in, it will be appended at the end of ‘about:blank’. Arrrgh!
Essentially, what we are trying to achieve here is a clean start page with nothing in the address bar. It is not going to take us long — let’s go for it!
1. Go to ‘Settings’
2. Select ‘Open the New Tab page’ under ‘On startup’
3. Install the Empty New Tab Page extension
Now this is the thing that does the trick! Just follow the link to Empty New Tab Page and once there, click the blue ‘Free’ button to install the add-on.
4. Reopen Chrome
Hold your breath… Ta-Da! Isn’t this beautiful?
Having completed this feat, you might want to just walk away, but wait a minute: I have another trick for you to try, so stay with me for something really cool.
Note what happens when you close the tab if there are no other tabs: the browser will close down as well. Is this a good thing? Well, sometimes it isn’t. At least you should have a choice as to what Chrome is to do in response to that. Unfortunately, you don’t get much of a say, but you can try to get around the issue.
For one thing, there is an extension called ‘Last Tab Standing’ designed to prevent Chrome from closing when you ‘x’ out of the last tab. You can give it a try, but in its current version it does not seem to work. If you don’t get much luck with it, here is the ultimate workaround.
Open a new empty tab and pin it
You will get a window like this:
Now you are protected. Here is how it works: if you close the last tab by accident, there will still be another one that will prop the window open. Then you will be able to create a new tab or reopen one of the previously closed ones, but either way you will be on top of the situation. This solution is almost perfect, except the next time you launch Chrome, the focus will be on the pinned tab, which is not what we want. Luckily, this can be easily fixed by installing the Start In Non-pinned Tab extension.
And now that you have completed all these steps, I hope you will be off to a much better Chrome experience.
Enjoy, and come back for more technology tips!