StumbleUpon to launch search capabilities
With a name like StumbleUpon, one might expect that the main part of the experience is based on not knowing what one is looking for, then finding it.
Previously this is just what happened – browsers would find a useful or entertaining site and add it to the collection, allowing fellow 'stumblers' to view and rank the website's fresh content.
However, StumbleUpon is now in the process of trialing a search function, with the new Explore Box in beta-phase testing enabling users to actively trawl through results based on the site's 500 pre-determined content categories.
This is a bold step for an online enterprise that relied on random surprise and delight – but it may prove to be a wise decision.
According to an official blog post by Xian Ke, StumbleUpon's senior product manager, the new offering will "bring you to community-endorsed content related to your specific interest or passion" with less clicking and more focus.
Virtually any word is now searchable through the Explore Box, with the rankings of the results still being determined by user votes and relevancy.
On completion of beta testing, the new feature will also be rolled out to third-party providers, including the FireFox search bar plug-in.
As well as offering pages and topics directly related to the query performed, StumbleUpon will provide users with a selection of suggested content endorsed by previous searchers.
It is this element that gives the site its advantage – the content is targeted at browsers from specific demographics as determined by the users themselves.
The breadth of information has also been upgraded, with the site busily 'ingesting' content from other sources.
While not exactly a dedicated search engine, StumbleUpon's new offering shifts the site more in that direction while maintaining the "best of the net" branding that initially made it so popular with regular browsers.