Google Chrome’s new tab page is clean and simple on computers, but it seems that may soon change. An experiment in newer versions of Chrome shows that Google is working on a widget for the new tab page that would show, possibly among other things, what are essentially shopping ads.

First spotted and enabled by the folks over at TechDows, a new flag has shown up in Chrome Canary. “NTP Shopping Tasks” is one of the first “modules” being worked on for this page. This new module shows ads for various types of products, but they’re not entirely random.

NTP Shopping Tasks Module

  • Shows the shopping tasks module on the New Tab Page. – Mac, Windows, Linux, Chrome OS

When this feature is fully enabled, it adds a fairly sizeable widget underneath your site shortcuts. This widget pulls from your Google Search history to recommend that you “continue searching” for products that you’ve recently been researching. Google’s built-in example highlights office chairs, but technically this should work for any product. Google briefly explains:

You’re seeing this item based on your previous activity using Google services. You can see your data, delete it, and change your settings at myactivity.google.com.

google chrome shopping new tab page widget test

This widget can be easily removed using the “x” button, but it’s unclear if that’s a permanent removal. Currently, this feature is only enabled with a flag — chrome://flags/#ntp-modules and chrome://flags/#ntp-shopping-tasks-module — and is not the default in Canary.


Update: Google clarified these are not “ads.” The company points out that they only source free shopping listings for this widget and that the content is not sponsored.


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