Chrome users won't give up, keep pressing Google to restore old-style new tab page

'Not changing,' counters Google

Users of Google's Chrome continue to badger the company to change the browser's new tab page, a sore spot to some for over half a year, even as the Mountain View, Calif. firm sticks to its design guns.

Last week, when Google rolled out Chrome 34, an employee identified as SarahMM took to a support forum to tout the changes in the upgrade. Within moments, others weighed in on the new tab page and reminded SarahMM that they detested the redesign Google debuted in September 2013.

"The New Tab Page isn't fixed. When will the New Tab Page be fully functional again?" asked swallowingled on the same support discussion thread.

"How about you revert back to the old New Tab?" said Jessica Chen the same day.

"Did you take that ridiculous useless search box off the new tab page?" wondered kelliann1.

"Have you fixed the intentionally-downgraded functionality of the New Tab Page?" asked coreytodds. "We know that this is about branding, and about not showing non-Google apps right away when the user goes to the NTP. We get it. You want us to use Google properties. WE ALREADY DO. I now spend 100s of extra clicks and mouse movements a day because of your imbecilic decision to remove desired functionality from Chrome. Literally 100s of extra movements because of these changes."

Chrome users have complained for months about the new tab page revamp that first showed up in the stable build of Chrome 29 (September 2013), then renewed those gripes when Chrome 33 appeared (February 2014) because Google eliminated the option that let them restore an older version of the new tab page.

The redesigned new tab page features eight thumbnails of frequently-visited websites and a large Google search box, shifts the Web apps view to a button, and dumps other features, including the ability to view recently closed tabs.

But Google again refused to change its mind last week. "As for the new tab page, this feature is not changing in [Chrome] 34," wrote SarahMM on April 10. She also told those who said they wanted to revert to Chrome 32, then disable updates that, "We do not recommend staying on older versions since they may be missing important security updates and bug fixes."

Reverting to an older version of Chrome is impossible, as far as Computerworld has been able to determine, because Google does not make those earlier versions available, and third-party outlets which once did, such as OldApps.com and FileHippo.com, no longer do.

At the bottom of each Chrome entry on FileHipp.com, for example, is this line: "The program provider has restricted distribution of older versions of this product."

Chrome users keep telling Google that they hate the redesigned new tab page (shown here) and want the old design back.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed. His email address is gkeizer@computerworld.com.

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