Chrome Tests Replacing New Tab Page Site Grid With Carousel

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Given the very large user base, Google is often hesitant to make major changes to Chrome. The Android browser has experimented with different new tab page designs and the latest sees Chrome adopting a carousel to show off your recently visited sites.

The new Chrome page on Android has long consisted of the Google logo, Omnibox for finding URL entries, and shortcuts for recently visited sites. Favicons are used and have historically been laid out in a 4×2 grid.

Google is now testing a carousel that has up to 12 pages, but you only see 4-5 at one time, compared to 8. As such, you have to scroll and tap rather than just being able to do the latter . This section is therefore no longer as high, which slightly benefits the Discover and Following/RSS feed.

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This change harkens back to a previous Chrome redesign attempt that would have a massive redesign of the New Tab page. Besides the carousel for recently visited sites, there would have been another carousel for “Continue Browsing” which displayed your open tabs and replaced the tab grid. This design was never widely deployed, but was striking enough to break Chrome’s browsing paradigm and dramatically elevate the NTP above the tab switcher.

Over the past few months, Google has toned down this design, but the carousel is clearly resurfacing. Not the biggest change, but one that adds unnecessary horizontal scrolling and makes the New Tab page slower to interact with.

This carousel on the New Tab page is not widely rolling out to all users, but started showing up for more of my devices (Chrome 102 stable) over the weekend.

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