Do you use an extension to customize Chrome’s new tab page? That’s not necessary anymore: you can now customize the default new tab page.

RELATED: Here's What's New in Google Chrome 69

This isn’t news: we highlighted the new features in Chrome 69 a few weeks ago, and even mentioned these features. But we think a lot of Chromes users haven’t noticed this yet, especially if they use a third party new tab page. Here’s how you can customize the default new tab page right now.

Change The Shortcuts in Chrome’s New Tab Page

Users can now customize the icons that shows up below the search bar. An “Add Shortcut” button makes this possible.

Click this and you can enter any name and URL that you want.

You can add up to 10 shortcuts. You can also edit the existing shortcuts: just hover your mouse over one, then click the three dots that show up.

Feel free to change the URL and name. I’m going to make the YouTube icon link to the subscriptions feed, but you could just as easily change the name and URL to another site entirely.

Add a Custom Wallpaper to Chrome’s New Tab Page

Not a fan of all that white space? You can add an image to the background instead. Click the gear icon at bottom-right to get started.

Google offers a range of backgrounds to choose from, in a number of categories.

You can also upload your own image, which is what I opted to do. I think it looks great.

Note that Google’s doodles will not show up while you’re using a custom wallpaper, though there is an animated indicator you can click when you’re curious.

Why Not Just Use an Extension?

We’re glad Chrome is offering these features by default, because installing an extension for a custom new tab page is overkill. Browser extensions are a privacy nightmare, in no small part because of how often popular ones are sold to sketchy companies. It’s best to avoid using extensions whenever possible, and this change makes that possible for more people, which is a very good thing.

Profile Photo for Justin Pot Justin Pot
Justin Pot has been writing about technology for over a decade, with work appearing in Digital Trends, The Next Web, Lifehacker, MakeUseOf, and the Zapier Blog. He also runs the Hillsboro Signal, a volunteer-driven local news outlet he founded.
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