Chrome browser is now Chromium, and now my extension doesn't work
November 7, 2017 1:00 PM   Subscribe

I work for BigCorp, and as such, they control everything that is installed on my laptop. I have my Chrome home page and new tab default (via extension/plug in) pointing to a custom file.html with all my links. I noticed today that when I start chrome, opening a new tab has been replaced with the chrome default new tab page (tiles/speed dial), and my new-tab-redirect extension no longer works.

Other extensions are working, like Ghostery and AdBlocker. If I open a new tab and click "home", it goes to my files.html. Also, chrome seems to have been removed, because when I do "about", it doesn't say I'm running Chrome anymore, it says I'm running Chromium!? WTheck? Also, every chrome(ium) process now shows up as running as some Bromium derived process. All I want is my new tab default page back! Any ideas how to accomplish this? (I tried to uninstall and reinstall the extension, as well as another one I can't find now, but it didn't help.)
posted by Pig Tail Orchestra to Computers & Internet (4 answers total)
If "home" takes you to your tabs list, maybe you can just go into the settings and change it so a new tab opens your homepage. If not, you should definitely be able to set a new tab to go to a custom address, so just paste in whatever shows up when you click the home button. As long as you never move your local file.html file, it should work. The new tab opening the tiles thing is Chrome's default, but that can be changed to a URL of your choice. In settings, just search for "tab" and that menu will show up.
posted by AppleTurnover at 1:10 PM on November 7, 2017

Bromium is a locked-down enterprise subscription version of Chromium, the browser that Chrome is based on. Your company probably went with making this the only browser you can use on your work laptop for security and privacy reasons, especially if your company processes any sort of sensitive data.

You *may* be able to set your local files.html as your homepage, as AppleTurnover suggests, but I can't guarantee that will stick, not having used Bromium specifically and not knowing just how locked down it is. I could see Bromium's threat model treating files residing on your computer as not secure enough unless it can scan them before every load to address potential malware and similar issues.

There's probably a list of "approved" extensions for Bromium; extensions like Ghostery are more commonly used, and their purposes are to increase security and privacy, which partner well with Bromium's raison d'etre.
posted by Pandora Kouti at 1:23 PM on November 7, 2017

Chrome can also be extensively configured by IT via group policy, and that policy can include an extension whitelist. You would need to contact your IT department to get your extension added to that whitelist in order to use it, most likely. There's also a group policy for setting the new tab page URL, and if they set that policy, there is literally nothing you can do to override it.

In short, if it's important to you, talk to your IT department and see if this is something they'd bend on. I wouldn't keep my hopes up, though.

As an alternative (assuming the homepage thing suggested above doesn't work), you could try enabling the bookmarks bar and add your local links page as a bookmark there. It's not elegant, but it's better than nothing.
posted by Aleyn at 10:38 PM on November 7, 2017

The new tab opening the tiles thing is Chrome's default, but that can be changed to a URL of your choice. In settings, just search for "tab" and that menu will show up.

This doesn't work for me. There is no setting to specify a new tab default page in chrome (or chromium). I can't understand why that's a thing. You can set it in Firefox. Why would Chrome let me set a custom home page, but it only works one time, on start up?

Also, I think the old extension is running/working (not blocked by BigCorp) but that it's just not working correctly on this version of Br/Chromium. I tried out probably 5 "ultimate tab page" extensions, and they all work just fine... except they don't have the basic functionality I'm looking for, which is to set the default to a url.

enabling the bookmarks bar

Well, I can hit control-t then alt-home and it takes me to my custom file.html. It's just so silly that I can't tell the new tab which page to load. In fact, the first tile on the new tab is my file.html.
posted by Pig Tail Orchestra at 7:23 PM on November 8, 2017

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