Google today announced that it has started rolling out a New Tab page for Chrome that features a search bar front and center. It also offers current Google Doodles without having to first navigate to Google’s homepage.
To get the new page, the only requirement is that you must have Google as your default search engine in Chrome. As with most of the company’s launches, the changes are rolling out slowly, so don’t fret if you’ve restarted Chrome and don’t yet see the streamlined New Tab page. It should show up soon.
Here’s what it will look like when it does (notice not just the Google logo and search bar, but also the navigation bar in the top-right corner that is taken straight from Google’s homepage):
Google first began experimenting with a search box in the browser’s tab page (as well as keeping queries in the omnibox after a search is performed) back in December 2012. The New Tab page features the user’s default search provider, not necessarily Google Search, but that’s probably what most Chrome users have.
When it first revealed the tweak, the company said it was making the change for the sake of speed, despite the fact that you can search from Chrome’s omnibox directly. “The goal is to save people time by helping them search and navigate the Web faster.”
At the time, we noted that Google appears to have finally given up on trying to change users’ browsing behavior. Some people will simply always go to a search engine when they want to start a new browsing session, likely by opening a new tab first. In those cases, they just don’t use the omnibox as a search box.
As we’ve already noted, Google’s next step is to start allowing search engines to display the user’s queries right in the omnibox (some people already have this, but Google isn’t yet ready to launch it broadly as it is doing today with the New Tab page), removing the need for a second search box on the results page. Developers who want to leverage this added capability can do so from the Embedded Search API; we’re wondering if companies like Microsoft and Yahoo will try to offer a similar experience to what Google will be offering with its search engine in Chrome.
Top Image Credit: Asif Akbar