When you open a new tab in Chrome, shouldn’t it show you something useful? Yeah, you can download a third-party extension to make your “new tab” page stand out, but you can’t really customize the page without coding experience … oh wait, Google just released a tool to help you build tab extensions without coding. Happy days!
Tab Maker is a free tool that lets you build custom tab extensions using simple templates. You could create an extension that shows photos of animals on Chrome’s “new tab” page, for example, or build an extension that shows you local news every time you open a new tab.
The process is quite simple—just fire up the Tab Maker website, build your tab extension, and install it to Chrome. You can even share your tab extensions or upload them to the Chrome Web Store!
There are a few weird quirks to this process, though. Your custom tab extension pulls data, such as images, from a Google Sheet that’s saved to your account. If you ever want to update your tab extension, you have to edit this Google Sheet (or upload your extension back into Tab Maker). Also, you can’t develop your own Tab Maker templates, so you’re stuck using what Google has to offer.
I’m excited to see Google build more customization tools into Chrome, and I really hope that Tab Maker finds its way to other browsers. But I do have one small concern—-if people can list Tab Maker extensions on the Chrome Web Store, could they use these extensions to distribute malware? Google isn’t the best at securing its browser extensions, after all.