Google’s Chrome New Design — what’s good, what’s bad, and what’s still missing

New vs. old Google Chrome UI

After 10 years since Google launched first version of Chrome, we’ve finally received major look refresh, together with few smaller improvements (wouldn’t call them new features as mostly they are minor tweaks). I’m using Chrome since day 1. and decided to summarize its newest “face” in reasonably short, objective way.

What’s Good

New design itself

Google Chrome new UI

After years of keeping Chrome UI almost unchanged, Google’s decision to go forward with it, making it more “material design looking like”, is showing that nowadays they are not only focusing on their services (e.g. Gmail, Photos, etc.) but started to put some effort also into desktop apps. This might also give hope to Chrome becoming more feature rich browser with time.


Together with new design, Google put some work into address bar (omnibox) so you could get more information (e.g. weather details while typing ‘city + weather’) straight in address bar suggestions instead of going to website:

More information straight in address bar (omnibox)

also password manager got bit smarter, now it suggest you most secured combination of characters to be used as your passphrase, together with lock against using the same password for multiple sites:

Password manager suggestions

What’s Bad

Failed hopes

After so much buzz in media, years of waiting (with lack of major development) new Chrome’s design is just a nice “face” (buggy in places, e.g. on Mac I was not able to hide bookmarks bar at all) in bad game. Lack of new features and significant improvements makes me think that Google takes Chrome users for granted, throwing new UI to them like a bone. For sure users won’t drop Chrome because of failed hopes, but Google had a chance to give us much more with new design and blew it.

What’s still missing

Long promised built-in ad blocker

Months ago when Google announced native ad blocker in Chrome, users get a glimpse of hope that Chrome is going into direction of feature rich browser, meeting current market/users needs (ad blocker popularity is still growing in US and Europe). Time passed and whole media noise around the topic is gone, together with built-in ad blocker functionality. I wasn’t naive, ads are core of Google’s business so wasn’t expecting Google cutting one of its legs; but still, they had a chance to do much good for users and ad business in general.

uBlock Origin is a great substitute here. Much better than popular AdBlock, more efficient and user-focused.

Truly personalized home page

With new design Google finally allowed to change wallpaper and add/remove/edit sites on home page. All would be great, but after few days of using it got a feeling that it was made just “so so”, to not make users angry about lack of new design on home page. Sites cannot be re-ordered, there is no way to categorize them (e.g. with tabs or folders), no option to customize search engine… Was hoping that Google will take some inspiration from competition (e.g. Opera or Firefox) or look into most popular home page extensions in their Web Store, but nothing of it happen.

Simpli fills the gap perfectly here. All personalization option that competitors have (beautiful wallpapers, tabbed speed dial for favorite sites, etc), available in Chrome.

Author: Piotr Podgorski

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