Given the very large user base, Google is often hesitant to make major changes to Chrome. The Android browser has been experimenting with different New Tab Page designs, and the latest sees Chrome adopt a carousel to show your recently visited sites.

The Chrome New Page on Android has long consisted of the Google logo, Omnibox for search and URL entry, and shortcuts for recently visited sites. Favicons are used and have historically been arranged in a 4 x 2 grid.

Google is now testing a carousel design that houses up to 12 pages, but you only see 4–5 in one go, versus 8. As such, you have to scroll and tap versus just being able to do the latter. This section is no longer as tall as a result, which marginally benefits the Discover and Following/RSS feed.

This change dates back to a previous Chrome redesign attempt that would have massively overhauled the New Tab Page. Besides the carousel for recently visited sites, there would have been another carousel for “Continue browsing” that showed your open tabs and replaced the Tab Grid. That design was never widely rolled out but was quite stark for breaking Chrome’s navigation paradigm and greatly elevating the NTP over the tab switcher.

In recent months, Google toned back that design, but the carousel is clearly being resurfaced. It’s not the biggest change, but one that adds unnecessary horizontal scrolling and makes the New Tab Page not as fast to interact with.

This carousel on the New Tab Page is not widely rolled out for all users but began appearing for more of my devices (Chrome 102 stable) over the weekend.

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About the Author

Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: abner@9to5g.com