Thursday, April 25, 2013 at 4:10 pm.

How Google Is Eating Chrome

Bit by bit, Chrome is becoming less about us and more about Google.

Google Chrome Search

I switched to Chrome a few years ago because it was insanely fast, relatively stable, and refreshingly uncluttered. Especially relative to Firefox, which was on the road to becoming slow, bloated-ass Netscape Communicator all over again.

Chrome is still fast and stable, and I still prefer it to Safari and Firefox for most browsing. But wow, Google is starting to Google it up even more.

Check out the “new blank tab” in the latest version of Chrome for Mac, “27.0.1453.65 beta.” It’s basically the Google homepage — special commemorative logo included! — minus the Google+ bar at the top and Privacy/Advertising info links at the bottom.

Google New Tab

It also re-added an “Apps” button — which I’d already hidden before — to my Bookmarks bar. It’s easy enough to right-click and deactivate this. (Nice try.) But still.

And there’s also a new Google logo next to the re-styled, predictive Google Instant search terms, as you can see in the top screenshot. No big deal, again, but a little cluttered. Do I really need to see the Google logo every time I type anything into my URL bar?

If you switch away from Google as your default search engine, all of this goes away. But I still prefer Google for most searches, so I’m going to leave it alone.

Anyway, of course this is going to happen. Chrome has been a huge hit for Google, and is now the top browser worldwide. For most people, it’s the portal to the Internet. Google is smart to try to own that as much as possible. How long until my new tab has an auto-playing YouTube preroll?

(Lastly, maybe this is only a beta feature that won’t make it to the “retail” version? I don’t know.)

But I still long for a fast, simple, truly blank new tab page, which Safari is happy to give me, and Google doesn’t seem to offer. This is a compromise. So I’m going to be a whiner until I get used to it.

Also: The End Of Android