Many of Google Now’s features have become a part of Chrome though some, like the notifications, are still tied to your Android device. Now – new tab is a Chrome extension that turns the new tab page into a very functional rendering of Google now. It’s the most accurate one we’ve seen to date and besides checking and listing your latest email, giving you access to a search bar, and displaying the time and date, the new tab page lets you add new events to your calendar and also works with Chrome notifications. You can drag the different cards to rearrange them any way you want. Your frequently accessed websites have their own card and cards for accessing Chrome Settings, Downloads, extensions and the default new tab page have also been added.
The page is designed really well; the search bar is centre stage and the cards follow below it. Time is automatically detected as is your current location to give you accurate weather. The extension will connect with and check email for the Google Account that you are signed into Chrome with.
To rearrange the card, click and drag it away from its original position to any other place on the page. The other cards will move to accommodate it.
The notifications automatically pop up and you can revisit them from the notification icon in your taskbar (or Menu Bar in OS X).
Apart from the very accurate impersonation of Google Now and integration with Chrome notifications, the new tab page that Now – new tab adds to Chrome, covers it all. The Settings, Download, and Extensions’ page can be accessed from their respective cards. The Extensions’ card shows which extensions you currently have enabled. There is also a card that lets you access Chrome Apps.
Now for the cons; the extension has time in 24hour format and while there isn’t anything wrong with that format, the extension should let users set the format themselves. The mail card is ridiculously long and there should be an option to limit it to the last 5 messages, or perhaps the card should be collapsible. True to Google Now, the cards are centered in the new tab page but their width is unnecessarily limited so that space is wasted on the left and right side. This width limitation has another side effect; text over flows beyond the card when it can’t be trimmed or moved to the next line for example when dealing with a long email address.
Despite these shortcomings, the extension is pretty good with amazing attention to detail. The background even changes to reflect the time of day. The weather icon on the weather card actually shows a cloud with rain drops if the forecast is for rain. Without a doubt, Now – new tab has markings of a great extension.