Tired of Chrome’s default home page? How about replacing it with one that not only gives you endless customization options, but also lets you sync it with your Android device and make information from your phone or tablet accessible right in your Chrome browser on desktop? SPOTS is an interesting duo of a Chrome New Tab page and an Android app that syncs across the two platforms. It turns the Chrome New Tab into a much more entertaining and feature-loaded window, displaying speed dials for your frequently accessed and favorite websites, access to flash-based online games and popular web services like Spotify, Twitter, 9GAG, YouTube, Hulu and more, view your Android texts and phone calls on your PC and even reply to messages. The Android app itself, which is essentially a quick launch panel that can accessed from anywhere in the OS, syncs with the extension to keep your personalized services accessible on your device as well.
With the extension installed, when you open a New Tab page, you’re presented with an all new fancy screen carrying speed dials for popular websites like Facebook, eBay, Yahoo, Amazon and Google. You can also view your frequently accessed sites by clicking Top Sites, specify custom speed dial images, or alternatively, add custom speed dials of your choice. The extension also adds an icon in the Chrome omnibar, clicking which on any site lets you quickly add it to your Favorites under a category of your choice.
The UI also puts the current date and time at the bottom-right, as well as four navigation buttons at the left to access the Favorites, Phone notifications, Apps and Games sections of SPOTS. It also enables you to sync your personalization settings across all your devices via signing into your Facebook or Google account, though those who don’t require the sync feature can simply use this extension without connecting any service with it.
The search bar is a handy option to quickly search the web, and uses Google to fetch the results that are presented on the same page. Simply type your query, hit enter and let SPOTS do the rest. The second great features is the ability to send and receive text messages right from your desktop Chrome browser. With the Android app installed and synced, SPOTS automatically fetches your call log and text messages into the extension, which means notifications for them on your Android phone will also land on your computer. In our testing though, the notifications didn’t work, but the messages and call log were retrieved just fine, and replying from the extension also worked successfully.
For that to work, you must sign into both the Chrome extension and the Android app with the same Facebook or Google account. Once installed, it’s quite easy to setup, and provides many of the same options and features that you’d find in the Chrome extension. You can configure how SPOTS should be launched from its Settings screen. By default, it can be brought into view via swiping from the bottom of the screen from anywhere.
Unlike apps like AirDroid, SPOTS keeps information in sync across your phone and tablet via the internet, and not your Wi-Fi network. The interface of SPOTS on Android looks equally beautiful, and lets you quickly access your contacts, favorite apps, popular web services, and loads of SPOTS games.
Due to the bevy of content that is available on the internet these days, it can become tedious to bookmark all the useful sites you come across, in order to make them quickly accessible. SPOTS resolves this nuisance by letting you access many of these popular services under one roof. Simply click the binoculars button on the left, and you will be presented with a bunch of speed dials under various categories such as News, Photography, Shopping, Travel, Men’s Gear, and TV & Movies, among other options. Besides accessing web apps, you can also find flash-based games here. The available choices may not seem a lot, but are fairly entertaining, to say the least.
SPOTS also gives you the flexibility to customize its aesthetics via changing the theme from the presets available on its Settings screen, which can be accessed by clicking the gear button.
Both the Chrome extension and Android app are available for free to download and use. An iOS variant of the mobile app is also in works for iPhone and iPad users.