chrome 54 for Android, tab page,

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Last week, there was an update to Google Chrome for Android devices. And like all new updates, Chrome 54 came with many new features to make the browsing experience better.

chrome 54 for Android, tab page,
Chrome 54 for Android

Some of the new features included the ability to play media in the background if you don’t want to stop what you were doing; making tab browsing more colorful by introducing colored tab switchers; a redesigned tab page and many other features designed to make life easier for developers working on the Chrome platform.

One of the new changes that did not go down well with some users of Chrome is the redesigned tab page that replaced the bookmarks and ‘recently visited items’ feature.

Instead what Google introduced in place of those two is what it called ‘suggested articles.

chrome 54 for Android, tab page,
Tab page before update

If you use Google Chrome a lot and are a fan of tab browsing, you would have noticed that change. When you try to open a new tap, ‘suggested articles’ would bring out some suggestions about what it thinks you want to read.

This is Google Chrome being very presumptuous about your browsing habit. Sometimes the suggested articles have nothing to do with why you want to open a new tap, or at worst the suggestions have nothing to do with anything you might be remotely interested in.

The suggested articles feature assumes it knows what you might be interested in. This works in conjunction with Google cookies that track your online activity and basically know the sites you like visiting.

chrome 54 for Android, tab page,
Chrome 54 ‘suggested articles’ tab page

In other words, if your naughty friend is always using your device to visit, for example, porn sites, don’t be surprised if you begin to get suggested articles with links to sites dealing with that industry.

What Google won’t tell you of course is that some of the suggested articles could be sponsored articles. So clicking on them would increase the ads revenue of Google. Well, since Chrome is a free product, we gotta pay for them one way or the other, right?

Anyway, there is a way you can disable this feature for good. That is if you fall into the category of people who hate intrusive features like this.

According to this article in Android Police, disabling it is not that hard if you know where to do it. All you need to is tweak two things in the settings and you are done with them.

First of all, just copy the links below and paste them in your Chrome browser. You would need to open new tabs for each link okay?

  • https://flags/#enable-ntp-popular-sites
  • https://flags/#enable-ntp-snippets

Each if the link would open up a page that might look confusing at first. But you need not worry about that because what you have to do in these pages is simple and straightforward.

chrome 54 for Android, tab page,
Disabling the ‘suggested articles’ tab page

Go to the top of the page and look for a drop down menu. Just tap it to bring out the menu. Then select ‘disabled‘ if ‘default‘  is already selected.

That is all. Just change ‘default’  to ‘disabled’. Leave all other things the way you met them unless you understand their functions; then you can go ahead and change those settings too.

A notification would pop out informing you to restart Chrome for the new settings to take effect. Do that.

You can now enjoy the old tab browsing before the update to Chrome 54.

If you are still using an old version of Chrome, you can still to this to prevented ‘suggested articles’ from taking over your new tab page in future when you decide to update your Chrome.

I hope in future updates of Chrome, Google would make it easier to access this setting. Hiding it like this seems fishy and sneaky. I guess when it comes to forcing us to help them make money, they would go to any lengths.


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