In previous articles, the team at Wing divulged our favorite Google Chrome extensions for specific purposes, such as limiting distractions or tracking our time. This time around, we’ve returned with a list of some much-needed Chrome productivity extensions to alter your tabs and make the blank pages on your new tabs more useful.
The new tab, especially within the standard Google Chrome browser, is definitely best described as “bland.” There are very few things you can really see on it, except for an arbitrary six websites collected from your previous browsing experience.
How can you spice up this relatively boring part of your computer? You can reinvent these tabs with certain extensions, of course! The Wing team has compiled 10 Chrome extensions to recreate your dashboard into a screen with more utility. These useful tabs range from productivity inspiration pages to ways to organize your browsing experience to design-based dashboards. Below is a full list of the extensions we’ve collected.
- Win the Day
- Infinite Dashboard
- Infinity New Tab
- Toby for Chrome
- Muzli 2
- Tabby Cat
Productivity Dashboard Tabs
Momentum is one of the most popular new tab extensions out there, and for good reason. The extension gives you a sleek, beautiful design with a worldly image in the back and an inspiring quote. Your new tab couldn’t possibly get more inspiring, and that’s not where Momentum’s utility ends.
In addition to the design and the beauty, this application gives you a couple more ways to create a useful tab. For example, you can set up a timer for yourself, as well as save links into the link folder on the top left. Additionally, you can change the photo in the background to another, equally inspiring image, you can change your time to other types of representations (such as military time or even a percentage of the day) and you can even check the weather in the top right.
Verdict and Risks
Functionally wise, this chrome extension may not have the widest range of uses. This is especially true when compared to the other tools we’ll be covering in this article. However, that isn’t the point of Momentum. Instead, the extension is meant for self-reflection and work motivation. This, in turn, should push you towards using that new tab for more productive purposes. All in all, the extension performs above and beyond in the departments it wants to hit, and is a beautiful addition to your browser.
If you’d like an extension that’s more functional, keep reading! There will be more versatile tools down the article line.
2. Win the Day
Win the Day is, to be perfectly honest, a Momentum with extra bells and whistles. The application includes the inspiring background dashboard that our prior mentioned extension boasts, complete with a shifting quote. However, while Momentum was relatively simple in its design and utility portfolio, Win the Day comes with many, many more ways to explore the reinvention of a useful tab.
First and foremost, Win the Day’s main feature is a project timeline tracker. You enter in the goal, as shown above, and set a due date for it. Then, you break down that goal into actionable, daily steps. As your week progresses, you’re presented with your necessary tasks for the day to finish your work. Reaching your goal in this way is pretty ingenuous — you get to look at the big picture while still understanding the path there.
Then, if project tracking wasn’t enough, Win the Day boasts additional tools, such as its habit tracking feature. You can enter a habit you want to reinforce, and then each day you can select if you were able to keep that habit going. Win the Day automatically tells you how long your habit streak has been. It also provides a fun and engaging calendar for you to see your mission of kicking or developing a habit. This feature is incredibly useful, simply because of how often you’ll be opening a new tab and being confronted with your habit goals. Of course, it’s nothing revolutionary, but it’s still nice to have the option. Little tools like this creates, overall, more useful tabs.
And that’s not all! The last feature of Win the Day is a self-built focus mode timer that blocks distracting websites. This is an interesting function that the other extensions on this list lack, and it really adds to Win the Day’s value.
Verdict and Risks
Overall, Win the Day has a lot to give to its users. It has a clean UI, multiple functions, and is simple to navigate and integrate into your daily life. However, a lot of the extra features isn’t necessarily essential for productivity. If you want a extension that can create a more seamless experience that isn’t burdened by extra tools that you may not use, then this may not the the right extension.
Organizing Websites Tabs
Besides the creation of a beautiful dashboard, other extensions can help you organize websites and browsing experience within the “new tab” page.
Infinite Dashboard is an all-in-one application that starts as a simple dashboard with a search bar. Unfortunately, that search bar is connected to Bing’s engine, but that’s a small price to pay for the other features this extension provides. Once you open up Infinite Dashboard’s “Hub,” you’re treated to a variety of websites that you’re used to visiting.
The functionality doesn’t stop there. In addition to the home page, there is a bookmarks tab where you can save specific sites. There’s an incredible “sessions” tab, which records your past browsing experience and lays them out for you in session groupings. Besides that, there’s an app page, which links you to the most common applications on the internet. Familiar icons such as Google Docs, iCloud, and Facebook Messenger show up on this page, and can take you there instantly. Infinite Dashboard even has a game tab in this “apps” page, with computer games like Flappy Bird and 2048.
In addition to those functionalities, Infinite Dashboard has even more useful features. For example, there’s another page with a “To-Do” application that shows a editable calendar. Then, as if that wasn’t enough, you can also go to the “notes” tab to create a new blank page that you can write on.
Verdict and Risks
Ultimately, Infinite Dashboard has it all. Even if I placed it under the “Website Organization” category, it not only has that functionality but also beyond. However, it is definitely a bit clunky in terms of UI, with a ton of browser-style white space and no real aestheticism. Plus, the main page is very barren, with only a search engine in the center. However, the utility is undeniable, but if you’d like something more stylistic, make sure to stick around.
The brilliance of Infinity New Tab isn’t necessarily within its functionalities. By that, I don’t mean it’s not useful — you can tell from the photo above how many different ways you can utilize it. However, what I find most satisfying about Infinity New Tab is, first and foremost, its incredibly sleek design.
The UI of the extension may be the immediate draw, but I won’t spend too much time gushing about it. In terms of what this tool can actually do, the extension is incredibly versatile. It has the standard ability to direct you to the most popular sites, as you can tell above, with some additional applications and cuter logos. The extension boasts the ability to add more sites to this collection, and the ease with which you can add directives and change their logos to fit your own aesthetic will make any individual feel at ease with the design of their newest tab.
In addition to this navigation panel, the extension has various other functionalities as well. One is the to-do list option showcased in the photo above. It is standard but has an artistic flair compared to previously featured extensions. Other features include a weather report tab that is actually incredibly aesthetic and informative. Seriously, this weather report section has everything, down to the highs and lows, wind speed and direction, and air pressure. Finally, there’s a search bar here as well, and you can change the engine to your specific favorite.
Verdict and Risks
Overall, Infinity New Tab is a solid extension that gives you immediate access to the favorite sites you bookmark and looks stylish while doing it. The simplicity yet versatility of the application’s UI is what really draws you to it. Nonetheless, it has less functionalities than some other extensions. But, if you’re willing to trade that for a more sleek experience, then this extension is a great fit for you. Not everyone needs all the bells and whistles of a bulkier application.
Toby for Chrome is the ultimate “Website Organizing” tab. It definitely fits that description better than the other extensions in this category, which is why I saved the best for last (or at least the most descriptively apt for last). Basically, what Toby for Chrome is is an extension that helps you save sites depending on workflow. You create a project on the tab and allocate the specific sites you need into that section. Then, you can close all of your tabs with a sigh of relief, knowing that you’ll have your internet workflow saved for a later look.
Toby does exactly what it needs to, and in a stylish fashion. Not only can you create unlimited projects with unique sites and workflows, you can even save sessions on a whole. The “save sessions” feature closes down all tabs, but allows you to reopen those later. It’s an incredibly useful way to unclutter your browser at a time without actually losing your spots.
Now, besides organizing websites in an aesthetic fashion, Toby’s other features helps the extension take the cake. For instance, Toby has a built-in search feature that allows it to look for sites related to your collections. This means that you basically have an automated researcher in Toby. Although, it’ll be up to you to vet those sites for the relevant information. Despite that, Toby as a tool is very reliable overall, and definitely goes above and beyond what you would expect from a “website-organizing” extension.
Another aspect of Toby that can be incredibly beneficial that I should mention: it has a teams feature that allows for organizational teamwork and communication. If you create an organization, you can add people to see and manipulate your project site collections. This allows for you to not just simplify your own project flow, but also streamline your entire team’s process.
Verdict and Risks
The possible downsides of Toby very hard to communicate. It’s obvious that, when designing the tool, Toby was made to create the most seamless workflow possible for switching into new tabs and projects. Obviously, the extension wasn’t designed for anything besides organizing sites, which it does super well. Consequently, other potential functionalities like to-do lists, notetaking, or a calendar management system simply doesn’t exist. If you’re someone who wants that range of functionality within your tool, then this may not be the 100% most useful extension for your tabs.
However, say you’re a professional looking for ways to organize your contexts and project resources. If that’s the case, then there is no better extension out there than Toby.
Design Dashboard Tabs
For the aspiring designers reading this post, you may love a way to gather inspiration for your designs. One type of dashboard that Chrome extensions can add to new tabs is a place that aggregates together inspirational designs. This may be a really fun way to consistently face the works of others and integrate them.
6. Panda 5
Panda 5 is an unique type of new tab. As the first “design dashboard” that we will be talking about in this article, the beauty of Panda 5 is really the inspiration you could gain from entering this extension.
Basically, Panda assorts together all the top, trending pages in a website, usually design aggregators like Awwwards (as shown in the picture above). It can also be used as a news reader, as it provides you immediate access to many pages and articles within compilations of information. For instance, you can access Medium and read the hottest blogs, or visit Reddit for the newest memes, all without leaving the comfort of your new tab.
However, the design aspect of Panda is really what takes the cake. When aggregating together previews of design pages, Panda basically sets before you a dashboard of artistic innovation. This can be a strong point of inspiration for designers whenever they arrive on the new tab.
Verdict and Risks
For a designer or a news geek, Panda really can be an amazing extension. It performs what it says it will, and through a very simple and understandable design. Additionally, you have a lot of control over the content of your feed, and can even add more sites. However, unfortunately, the UI of the news feed is relatively clunky. Also, the news feed is interrupted by ads, which I guess is the price to pay for a free extension.
7. Muzli 2
Muzli 2 is a powerful extension that’s very similar to Panda 5. As a user, you receive news feeds split into design, tech, culture, and news, and you can choose one to be your main feed. The design feed is especially impactful, mainly because Muzli 2’s newsfeed requires you to actually visit their websites, unlike Panda 5 which has a built in reader.
Muzli’s slickness and UI brevity is undeniable, and that aspect is definitely a huge draw in terms of what makes Muzli special. Additionally, it has its own search engine, which you can use to find design and news pages with specific keywords. Alternatively, it also provides a Google search bar, which earns points for considerateness if nothing else.
Your interaction with Muzli is quite customizable as well. There are over 120 feeds besides the main “Muzli Picks” feed, which in itself is a professionally chosen and curated design feed. All in all, it is a powerful dashboard for inspiring design.
Verdict and Risks
Muzli does everything it sets out to do, and honestly does it in a cleaner and more innovative display than Panda, which is a little more clunky. However, in comparison to Panda, Muzli doesn’t allow you to completely add unique sites as newsfeeds, which means that in spite of its over 120 different options, it still has less flexibility than the previously mentioned Chrome extension. Regardless, the choice of whether or not to pick Muzli comes down a matter of preference for simplicity and accessibility over full functionality or not.
If You Just Want a Break
8. Tabby Cat
The final option for a tab-altering extension that our team wanted to present is the Tabby Cat extension. Unlike the other chrome productivity extensions I’ve mentioned today, this one might not exactly be the most functional or objectively useful. However, the beauty of Tabby Cat is really how relaxing and fun it makes your new tabs.
Basically, after you install Tabby Cat, every new tab you open will have a different stylized cat on the page. Its simple, but so incredibly cute. But wait, there’s more! The cats are interactive, meaning that you can play with them, pet them, and watch them sleep or eat. They emulate real cats in that they even bring you items too!
You can use toys to unlock more cats, making the tab a relaxing session of cat watching. Sometimes, a litter of kittens comes out as a surprise. Additionally, you can spend $1 for even more animals, like dogs, birds, and bears. Consequently, even if you’re not a cat person, you can get your favorite animal on the screen!
If you’re somebody who might not want to be constantly reminded of the work you have with every new tab, or if you don’t need a new tab for project tracking and already have your own workflow for those situations, then downloading Tabby Cat may be the best way to take a break with every new tab you open during your browsing session. Of course, you’ll be missing out on more functional extensions. But, to be honest, Tabby Cat may be worth it.
Key Takeaways: What Makes the Most Useful Tab?
Ultimately, you can only choose one of these extensions as your new tab tool, considering that there’s currently no way of picking and choosing which extension shows up on which new tab. The point of this list of 8 possible options is to enable you to choose. All of these Chrome extensions have amazing upsides and some downsides, and in the end it comes down to which one is of the greatest value to you and your workflow.