This is the direction Chrome is heading next – masked URL’s and deep omnibox integration for Google searches. I’m not a big fan, since I like to tinker with URLs sometimes. Some things, like taskbar App launcher, are already present in existing Chrome build flags. I just wish the NTP icons were size adjustable to fit more.
“Since we launched Chrome, the team has continued to work on ways to make it fast and simple for people to use. To that end, we’re going to begin testing variations of Chrome’s New Tab page (NTP) in which a user’s default search provider will be able to add a search box or otherwise customize the NTP.”