It's not about taking anything away from Opera's iconic speed dial, but Group Speed Dial for Firefox has possibly the best customizable new tab page I've ever used.
When Mozilla turned WebExtensions into the only option available in Firefox 57, it eliminated many legendary add-ons. One of them was, in my opinion, the rapid marking of Josep Del Rio.
If you are a creature of habit, and tend to visit the same websites every day, a speed dial page may be more convenient than regular bookmarks. The new default tab in Firefox is fine, but I wanted more. That's when I came across the Rapid Dialing Group of Juraj Mäsiar.
It looked like an original complement fork, something I did not expect at all. It seemed to me that the author also missed the speed dial, and had created the new extension. The Group Speed Dial has many ingenious features, some of which may have been added over time since its debut.
Group Speed Dial – Basic use in Firefox
Once the add-on is installed, it effectively replaces the "new tab", with quick markers that act as visual markers for the web pages you want. To create a new speed dial, click on an empty tile and paste the URL of the web page in the "Link to page" field.
Tip: You can quickly add a website to the speed dial by clicking on the add-on icon and selecting «Add this page to dialing».
For example, you can link to the home page of Ghacks.net to quickly visit the blog. Being an extension of visual markers, generates a preview of the web page. You can update the sphere's thumbnail to keep it updated.
Tip: Some previews may require you to log in to the specific website.
By default, the speed dial page has 9 marks in a 3 by 3 format. However, you can customize the settings to add more.
You can also add more pages, or Groups, as the name of the extension suggests. Each page has a 3 x 3 grid, which can be customized. You can give each group a name to keep things well organized.
Tip: There are many ways to organize the dials. Do you want to move a dial to another dial? Click and drag it to the dialing position and release it. This also works if you want to move the dials between groups.
Click on the extension icon in the toolbar, and you'll see a drop-down menu with some options, including one that says "Options," except that it allows you to modify the extension's settings.
The options page allows you to select between a white and a dark theme. The appearances of Brands and Groups can be personalized to your liking, including the size of the thumbnail. You can configure Group Speed Dial to always open in a new tab, always open in a new window, change automatically to a new tab, etc.
You can use a custom background for your quick dial. The add-on allows you to choose between the following background options: None, Bing image of the day, Gradient colors, an image stored on your computer, an image of the URL and even a web page.
Note: When using a background, there may be a slight delay (a fraction of a second) when the new label is loaded.
Backup and restoration marks and settings
This is an incredibly useful option. When I installed Group Speed Dial, I was pleasantly surprised to be able to import my settings / brands from Speed Dial. This has the extension ready to use in a matter of seconds.
Similarly, you can use the backup option on the extension to save all your speed dial and configuration data. Keep a copy of this in your cloud storage account or on a portable drive, in case you need to reinstall Windows or if you are changing your computer / hard drive or want to update Firefox.
Tip: There is another extension called "Ctrl + Number for group speed dialing", made by the same author. The installation of this plugin allows you to use keyboard shortcuts to quickly open the dial you want. For example, Ctrl + 1 for the first dial, Ctrl + 5 for the fifth, and so on.
The Group Speed Dial has optional features based on the cloud, but I prefer to use it offline, since I only use Firefox. The extension is also available for Google Chrome and Opera, but I have not used them and therefore I can not comment on them.