Many sites try to convince you to set them as your homepage: for example, every time you visit google.com using Internet Explorer, the site prompts you to make Google your homepage (Firefox's default homepage is already a skinned google.com).
Other sites are created just to become your homepage: from classic portals like Yahoo.com to personalized homepages like My Yahoo, iGoogle or Netvibes. But none of the sites is better than about:blank.
According to Wikipedia, "about: is an internal URI scheme (also known as a URL scheme or, erroneously, protocol) in various web browsers to display certain built-in functions and Easter eggs. It is not an officially registered scheme, and has no standard syntax." One of the most common addresses is about:blank, whose only purpose is to display a blank HTML document. It's supported by most browsers and it has a lot of advantages:
- your browser loads much faster
- it works even if you don't have an Internet connection
- it's not distracting so you can continue your work
- you are free to decide where to go, without letting others decide for you
- if you open a new window, some browsers (for example, Internet Explorer) load the homepage
- it's the most minimalist homepage in the world
Fortunately, most browsers have an option to set the blank page as a homepage, but you can always type about:blank to replace the default homepage. And next time when you install a toolbar or any other popular software, keep an eye on settings like "Make Yahoo.com your homepage". By default, most software from Google, Yahoo and Microsoft has the mission to change your homepage and the default search provider.
Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft, iGoogle, Firefox, Netvibes, Homepage, Tips and Tricks