Why remove home page features? Why remove features at all?

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Aaron S.

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Nov 5, 2023, 3:03:45 PM11/5/23
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I have noticed a trend over the years when google apps and software is updated. Sometimes these big updates come through and change the visuals. Issue with this is what often ends up happening is features get removed that were an essential part of daily use. Today I opened chrome and the square app button was gone from the upper right hand corner along with the gmail link. I cannot imagine a reason of any kind why anyone would think that's a good idea?

I know this sounds petty but each time this happens were forced to change our habits and the way we interact with google and it's apps. Let's say I am a small business owner. I run on a steady and well known set of steps, a routine, for each task to make sure no mistakes are made. Over the years I would have to change processes and re-write instructions for my team multiple times without warning because more steps needed to be added to to complete a task because google decided to change something that didn't need changing. This is one of those examples. A specific way team members used the app button and home screen. Now it doesn't work. Frustrating.

Can we stop removing features? I could go through countless examples over the years but instead I'll just remind everyone that it's been talked about on many tech channels over the years, even Linus from Linus tech tips has mentioned this several times. Focus should be on improving functionality, stability and USABILITY. Removing such features that obviously aren't in the way of anything else, because it's just a blank area now, did nothing for the end user except add more steps to a task.

Jon Perryman

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Nov 5, 2023, 7:46:14 PM11/5/23
to detona...@gmail.com, Chromium-discuss
Chromium or any other browser has nothing to do with web pages changed over time. Chrome defaults "home" and "start" to google.com which is under the control of Google web developers. If you find their changes annoying, then change your browser settings to a web page that is not so annoying. Maybe build your own so that it never changes. There are many home web pages that you can use. For example, I think MSEDGE (which is another chromium based browser) defaults to bing.com.

Is there a chromium feature that was removed incorrectly? Features rarely disappear from Chromium because it uses a feature called "experimental flags" which as the name implies, it could go away without warning.. These are not permanent features.

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Adam Rice

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Nov 13, 2023, 4:45:59 AM11/13/23
to jon.pe...@gmail.com, detona...@gmail.com, Chromium-discuss
I don't know anything about this specific feature, but I can respond to the general question. All features have a maintenance cost. Additionally, the presence of features can add complexity which prevents other improvements from being possible. If we never removed any features we would eventually reach a situation where 100% of our time was spent on maintenance we could never make any improvements at all.

So a cost/benefit calculation has to be made, and features that are little-used or provide little benefit may be removed to free up resources.

I personally work on web platform APIs, and we sometimes remove features for security or privacy reasons. An example would be third-party cookies, which are very useful but have proven extremely detrimental to both user security and privacy.

Another reason why features are sometimes removed is aesthetics. For example, the "+" on the new tab button went missing for many years, although thankfully it is back now.

guest271314

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Nov 19, 2023, 3:31:48 AM11/19/23
to Chromium-discuss, Adam Rice, detona...@gmail.com, Chromium-discuss, jon.pe...@gmail.com
What do you mean by "app button"?

Since I don't want to have google.com as my home page nor search google.com when I type in the "omnibox" I set the default search engine to "chrome://newtab?%" and use an extension I wrote for the new custom new tab page. If you want to use a custom home or new tab page you can do that. You can also include a link or other functionality on the address bar by pinning the extension icon there, and perform any action you define on click of that extension icon. Note the action property of the manifest.json.

E.g.,

{
  "name": "tab",
  "version": "1.0",
  "manifest_version": 3,
  "chrome_url_overrides" : {
    "newtab": "./tab.html"
  },
  "background": {
    "service_worker": "background.js"
  },
  "permissions": [
    "nativeMessaging",
    "tabs",
    "activeTab",
    "windows",
    "scripting"
  ],
  "host_permissions": ["<all_urls>", "chrome://extensions/*"],
  "externally_connectable": {
    "matches": [
      "isolated-app://XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX/*",
      "https://*.github.com/*"
    ],
    "ids": [
      "*"
    ]
  },
  "action": {}
}

Kassu Debianite

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Dec 12, 2023, 1:52:28 PM12/12/23
to Chromium-discuss, guest271314, Adam Rice, detona...@gmail.com, Chromium-discuss, jon.pe...@gmail.com
FWIW, on Debian 12 in Chrome 119, I cannot change the values of default start or new tab page, even if the home-button URL can be changed, what is mentioned in Jon Perryman's post.

- Customize Chromium button does not show any option to change the new tab page URL on the menu.
- While the Preferences json-file does exists, any change to it were overwritten by chromium on startup.

There is a workaround involving the use of search engine entry with the URL ".?s=%s" that I just learned about. But I think Chromium should allow the user to select any url or blank for the new tab pages shown after new tab button click or ctrl+n.

Not that it calling "gstatic.com" every time time is dangerous or anything. It's just not Open Source to rely on private enterprise infrastructure.

Regards, Kassu

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