While installed, new tabs default to ‘chrome://apps/’
Updated Dec 2019 because it stopped working. Fixed by changing url to pendingUrl.
This extension will always be free and will never have ads.
This extension was created in response to Chrome’s Feb 2014 removal of the “Enable Instant Extended API” that let you default your new tab to the Apps view.
The source code is very simple and is posted online, so you can inspect it for yourself.
If you prefer, you can instead use my “Home Button At Top Right” extension (https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/home-button-at-top-right/bfejcgpdahgpmgadhgdadfiekmhgnifm) which lets you (via right-click Options) toggle on/off the new-tabs-as-apps feature.