I never really thought about this for the longest time. A new tab was just a new tab and a place to start browsing anew while not losing the original focus on the previous tab. I really bought into the concept of multiple tabs so that I could do and work on a couple of things at once.
Time moves on and I do my best to become efficient. Because I always check into Twitter, Facebook, my Gmail account, it made sense to save these tabs and load them automatically when I load my browser. Then, I got hooked on Alltop. It was a great way to have the commonly read web resources load every time I got started. For me, I got the sense that I was working smarter and that really made a great deal of sense. Just the menial task of manually opening tabs seemed to rob me of productivity time.
I think my philosophy changed the first time I loaded the Opera browser and saw Speed Dial for the first time.
You could turn the new tab experience into an ever greater launch point for productivity. I started looking around and ended up with the Incredible Start Page and I shared it on this blog here. It just because like a pair of comfortable shoes. It was there when I started a new tab – had a notepage for quick notes to myself, access to my bookmarks, the apps I had installed, and a list of the most visited sites for me. For my Google Chrome browsing experience, it was great! Oddly, I didn’t make the same effort to change the new tab page in the other browser of choice – Firefox, the default always did the job for me.
Then, about a week ago, I read a couple of articles about applications and extensions to bring more functionality to the browser. The nice thing about blogging was that I could go back to the original post and realize that I hadn’t changed the new tab function for two years. That’s an eternity to changes made on this computer! So, I devoured these two articles.
…and then started to explore.
I had really bought into the Rockmelt philosophy that there should be something new every time you load a browser. I was motivated to look for something with the concept that Rockmelt will stop functioning on August 31. I really hope that Yahoo! finds some way to keeping it alive but that’s fodder for another post. Wouldn’t it be great if there was just something new when I opened a new tab?
I’ve been curious about active tiles and how it works within Windows 8. Not enough to buy it but the whole metro interface thing seems to be a new model for getting to the latest and greatest and having it right on your Windows desktop. Could it not happen in a new tab instead?
To that end, I downloaded and installed the new metroTab. It had that new metro experience but after poking around I realized that I could do some great customization to suit my needs – including the philosophy that everything looks better in green. I had access to recently closed tabs but am really drawn to the active content on the desktop. I liked what I saw and kept it. It did seem a little wrong to have it running on Ubuntu so I changed the background colour to orange and it does seem to fit nicely there.
I continue to poke around and see what I can do on a regular basis. The only think that’s seemingly a void in the upgrade was a missing notepad. But having a tile to Evernote was a no-brainer – I really had gravitated there for the most part anyway.
What to do to refresh Firefox? There wasn’t a metro interface in the second article but New Tab Tools gives a very nice customization ability to getting started.
In both cases, access to recently closed tabs helps out with those “D’oh” moments.
I’m liking the current new tab modifications. I haven’t forgotten the past and they may well return but such is the life of an ever evolving search for the ultimate productivity tools. In the classroom, what a great way to make it easy for students to get to web resources for those computers progressive enough to be using web applications.
Speaking of ever changing, you can’t be complacent. I read this today. Changes to Chrome’s New Tab Page.
Who can’t handle a little change?
- Firefox makes a Metro move (reviews.cnet.com)
- New MetroTab For Chrome Gives Your New Tab Page The Windows 8 Modern Look (technorms.com)
- The Best Apps and Extensions to Supercharge Chrome’s New Tab Page (lifehacker.com)
- Customize your new tab page with X New Tab Page [Chrome, Firefox, Opera] (dottech.org)
- New Metro Tab Brings you Windows 8 Live Tiles to Chrome’s New Tab Page (spicytricks.com)