Very nicely written and I couldn't agree more on omission of the + sign from the new tab. You rightly pointed out that people who are using Chrome for long know where to click ( or use keyboard shortcut) to launch the new tab. My friend (not a tech-savvy) finally shifted to using Chrome after me insistently asking to make the switch. I was on phone with her and told her to open a new tab and type the URL. The conversation goes as follows:
Friend: How do i open the new tab?
Me: It's very simple, you have the + sign near the open tab and just click it, it will open the tab.
Friend: I dont see that + button on the top.
Me: It's there just look carefully.
Me: (Goes back to Chrome and see if the + is there. Realize its gone. I didnt even realize the change because I am so use to keyboard shortcuts but its not same for new users) Well, seems like they made the change. OK Now, move mouse to the top left corner of the screen, slowly move to right, you would see small grey box which is looking differently from the rest of the tabs. When you move your mouse over it, you would see "new tab" option. Just click it.
Friend: I see the box now, but no text appears. Should I click it?
Me: Yeah that is the button (realizing the tooltip is also gone).
I must say I was tempted to tell her the keyboard shortcut, but I want to tell sometimes having small things like a + sign is indicative to first-timers if not for people who been using Chrome from day 1 of its launch because more and more people are beginning to use it. In IE9, there is no + sign but if you move the mouse over to the button it shows an image (and tooltip) of new page which is indicative.