Sunday, March 02, 2014

You And The Horse You Rode In On


Back before Fall 2013 here's what Chrome's New Tab Page looked like:

There's a selection at the bottom center that let's you choose whether you want to see "Most visited" or "Apps." This screen capture shows the "Apps." At the bottom right are choices for "Other devices" and "Recently closed."

I was a big user of "Other devices" as I would use this to go pick up a page that I had left open on one of my other devices.

The cursor was placed in the Omnibox ready to enter a search string.

After Fall 2013 Google replaced the New Tab Page:

The top half of the screen is a Google doodle and a search field. But the cursor is still placed in the Omnibox ready to enter a search string. And the choice of "Most visited" or "Apps" is gone with only "Most visited" displayed. "Apps" is a link at the top left.

"Other devices" and "Recently closed" are in the "hamburger" menu at the top right.

Not much of this mattered to me except that the new "Other devices" list only contains 4 entries per device.

But it was possible to reinstate the previous New Tab Page by setting a flag in chrome://flags/.

So I set this and moved on.

But Google has a way of jumping up and biting you.

In v33 of Chrome the option in chrome://flags/ is gone and there is no alternative to the new New Tab Page.

That this has caused quite an uproar is an understatement.

The Google Chrome team's response has been very reminiscent of the Firefox team several years ago. Remember what has happened to Firefox's usage share since then.

Then the leader of the Google Chrome team responded.

Not a very friendly response to say the least.

Scroll up in the above thread to see how this was raised in the pre-stable releases. And Google's total non-response other than locking the threads.

In the end it looks like the function that I want ("Other devices") is still available on the History page.

I think that this is another instance of Chrome deprecating old APIs for future function or compatibility as I discussed here. A little transparency on the part of Google would have really helped.

Oh, the title of this post? Read here.

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