Google Chrome update: How to access apps and recently closed tabs

Just last month I pointed out three handy (but often-overlooked) Google Chrome features, one of which was how to access tabs you've recently closed.

Today, Google rolled out a Chrome update that not only relocates that useful option, but also simplifies the browser's new-tab interface.

Let's take a look. In the past, when you opened a new tab (either by pressing Ctrl-T or clicking the new-tab button), you'd see one of two pages: a collection of Chrome apps or a bunch of thumbnails for your most-visited sites.

That was kind of a hassle, having to switch between the two. Now, everything is accessible from a single, more unified, page.

Specifically, when you open a new tab, you'll see the Google Search bar. Below that, your most-visited sites, again in thumbnail form.

As for apps, you can access them by clicking in either of two places. The first is the newly added apps shortcut that was added to your bookmarks bar. (If you don't use that bar, obviously you won't see it.) Clicking that shortcut reveals the old apps screen you're familiar with.

However, if you merely want quick access to Google apps (Maps, YouTube, Gmail, etc.), you can click the little apps shortcut in the top-right corner of the new-tab page. That reveals a pop-down menu with nine of the most popular Google apps, with others available by clicking More.

Finally, Chrome's "Recently closed" menu, which used to reside in the bottom-right corner of the new-tab window, has been relocated to the Chrome menu--the little three-line icon at the far right of the address bar.

Click it, then mouse over Recent Tabs for a fly-out menu with your recently closed tabs and tabs from other devices. I'm not sure this is more convenient than the old setup, but it does make for a more unified, less scattered interface--and that I like.

What do you think of these changes? Good? Bad? Other? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Contributing Editor Rick Broida writes about business and consumer technology. Ask for help with your PC hassles at hasslefree@pcworld.comSign up to have the Hassle-Free PC newsletter (which is included in the Power Tips newsletter) e-mailed to you each week.

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