Google Doodles. They seem cool but they may be distracting for some. Getting Doodles also isn’t free as they can be hundreds kB in size.
There was no option to disable Doodles as they are core part of Google Chrome, the “newtab-serviceworker.js”. Luckily just recently, based on some planned changes (Chromium tracking bug 583292), in this change “Add about:flags entries for UseGoogleLocalNtp and OneGoogleBarOnLocalNtp” they added a flag that disables the NTP (New Tab Page) service worker.
As that’s a very recent change, it’s currently available only in Google Chrome 61 (Canary) and not yet in the stable version (58). If they do not change anything, it will land in stable in about 3-4 months but they can decide to merge it into stable sooner (or also later or even never – but let’s hope they code like they mean it).
Switch this settings “Enable using the Google local NTP” to “Enabled”, restart Chrome and open a new tab – Google Doodle is gone.
Update 10/2017: If your Google Chrome has additional flag “Enable doodles on the local NTP”, you might have to disable this one as well.
Update 8/2019: Seems like the flag is gone for good from Chrome 76+. I recommend using Empty New Tab Page extension (by actual Chromium developer). It will clear the entire page including favorites/most visited pages but that’s what I like as I manage pages I visit in the bookmark bar.