This screenshot illustrates the default start page of Chrome that is displayed when you open a new tab inside the Google browser. It includes a list of most frequently visited websites as well as a list of recently closed tabs – very handy when you reopen an accidentally closed website tab.

chrome start page

The start page of Firefox 3.0 is currently blank but Mozilla is working to add some Chrome like flavor to the upcoming Firefox 3.1 release. For this reason, they have just released a new about:tab add-on (xpi) that brings Chrome like features the the Firefox start page.

About:Tab shows a list of "frequently visited sites" and the "most recently closed tab" but you don’t see image thumbnails in the default view – you can however click the "star" icon and see Website screenshots on the start page just like Chrome or Opera.

firefox start page

Unlike Google Chrome where the list of frequently visited websites is read-only, About:Tab for Firefox lets you re-order as well as remove websites from the list.

Contextual Actions via Clipboard

One of very interesting features in about:tab is that it can read content from the clipboard and if the text pattern matches a website URL or a physical address, you’ll find direct links on the start page for opening that website without having to paste the URL in the address bar.

firefox-commands

If the pattern doesn’t match anything, you get a search link. For some reason, I couldn’t get this to work but it could be a problem with my setup or a bug in the add-on.

The about:tab extension currently works only with Firefox 3.1 and the functionality could become part of the default release. You can check for some more start-page designs as suggested by the Mozilla community. 

Other add-on that you want to try include 3×3 Links and Speed Dial.