IE8 users have been reporting that they are no longer able to see the New Tab page which displays most visited sites and other options whenever a new tab is opened. If you have been wondering that something has gone wrong, don’t panic, it is a deliberate decision by Google to adhere to new IE add-on guidelines and requirements posted by Microsoft, which can be viewed here.
IE8 users will no longer be able to view the new tab page which was added by Google Toolbar since Microsoft’s add-on guidelines clearly state that add-ons cannot make any changes to the tabs or address bar. Here is a snippet from the guidelines page (some emphasis added by me):
Removing and/or replacing Internet Explorer features
Software must not remove or replace any Internet Explorer features by disabling or limiting access to the feature user interface in Internet Explorer.
This includes, but is not limited to, replacing features such as the Internet Explorer address bar, search box, new tab page and favorites center.
As you can see, Microsoft clearly limits add-ons from making any change to the address bar, search box, new tab page and favorites center.
The new changes in Google Toolbar basically removes the new tab page because of this restriction. If you are a user who misses this feature, you are urged to use Firefox or Google Chrome.
I am a very light IE user, however, I find the new tab feature in Google Chrome and Firefox pretty useful, since it allows me to quickly open a frequently visited sites without having to use the bookmarks or having to type in the URL. A similar feature can also be found in Opera, however in Opera it is called Speed Dial, and users have to manually add the pages to the Speed Dial.
Considering that IE’s user base is constantly declining, limiting add-ons from adding more features is definitely a bad move, considering how popular the feature has been. So would you switch from IE7 or IE8 to Firefox or Chrome to make use of this feature? Do let me know.