Google yanks option to restore Chrome's old-style new tab page, riles users all over again

Google digs in its heels, tells users to find an add-on if they don't like the new new tab page

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Others were more moderate, but still stinging.

"Sorry, but this is unacceptable in ANY form whatsoever and I have no clue who you think you are fooling with your canned PR response," wrote Jason Hellenthal on Feb. 20, aiming his comment at SarahMM. "Old code? It was a decision to force the user into not turning it off."

"You can pretend it's about the extended API, but this is just a distraction from the fact you are forcing us to practice bad browsing behavior, like using unnecessary third-party extensions," chimed in coreytodds yesterday.

Many users were short and succinct in their pleas. "For the love of the little crying infant baby Jesus would you STOP messing with my new tab page?" asked Steve Pittman on Saturday.

Several noticed that if they changed the default search engine from Google to an alternative, say Microsoft's Bing, the large Google logo and search field vanished. The irony wasn't lost on them. "Change search engine to Bing and the Google logo and child's search box go away! Except, of course, I'll be evaluating a new search engine," wrote Alex Kushnir last Thursday.

In Windows, Chrome's search engine setting can be found on the "Settings" page after clicking on the icon with the three horizontal lines at the right side of the browser's toolbar. In OS X, the setting is on the "Preferences" page, called up from the "Chrome" menu at the far left.

Others claimed that they were uninstalling Chrome and switching to Firefox.

But those users' comments were full of sound and fury, signifying nothing to Google, or so it seemed by the reply of one Google senior software engineer on the Chrome UI team, Peter Kasting, who replied to similar complaints that had been posted to the Chromium bug tracker.

"We have, in fact, considered the various issues people have raised with the new NTP [new tab page], and suggestions have been kicked around as to how to address those issues, so you may see changes in the future, (emphasis in original)," wrote Kasting on Feb. 20. "Completely reverting the NTP, however, is not one of those suggestions, because the new NTP is massively improved on all kinds of important user satisfaction metrics. Reverting it, in our opinion, would harm the overall UX [user experience] for a large fraction of our userbase, and we have a moral duty to consider their well-being, not just the opinions of the few who complain."

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

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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