Two Random Alternatives to Stumbleupon

When researching possible stories, I sometimes use the Stumbleupon toolbar button but I recently came upon two other toolbar buttons which pretty much perform the same function. You may be interested in using them yourself for surfing the web.

Google’s “Picks For you”

googletoolbarmain09052008   Two Random Alternatives to Stumbleupon

This one won’t be for everyone’s tastes for the following reasons. First of all, you need the Google toolbar installed. Secondly, you need to activate Google search history. You also need a Google account but anyone with a Gmail account already has one of those. So you kind of need to be a bit of a Google fan to have all of that and you also need to trust them with your search history (so anyone that values their privacy may howl with protest).

picksforyou   Two Random Alternatives to StumbleuponSo if you have all of those things installed, click here and the “Picks For You” button will appear on your Google toolbar in the form of a pair of dice.

You can also, in theory, bypass the toolbar button and enter the following URL into the browser address bar :

http://www.google.com/searchhistory/items?op=rec_rd&cd=ifb&hl=en

and it does the same job as the dice button. But you still need your Google search history enabled. There’s no getting around that one unfortunately.

“Picks For You” is Google’s very basic version of StumbleUpon. You first need to have a fairly big search history built up. Then when you click the dice button, Picks For You takes a look at your search history, decides what kinds of sites you would like to see (based on your past searches) and then randomly takes you to a similar kind of site.

Obviously it is not as good as Stumbleupon. There’s no profiles, no close-knit community, no customization, no ability to choose subjects the way that Stumbleupon allows you to. But for a change of pace, “Picks For You” is quite nice and it will be interesting to see where Google takes this in the future.

Random Wikipedia pages

wikipediaheader09052008   Two Random Alternatives to Stumbleupon

By entering http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Random into the browser address bar, you are then taken to a random Wikipedia page. If you have writers block, I have often found that stumbling Wikipedia helps to clear the mind. I have had some issues with Wikipedia in the past but nevertheless, it is still a site worth visiting. Click the random button once and you could be taken to a page about Queen Victoria. Click the button again and you could end up on Homer Simpson‘s page.

newbookmark   Two Random Alternatives to StumbleuponIf you decide you like the random button, you can easily make a clickable browser button. Just right-click on your browser bookmark toolbar and choose “new bookmark”. Enter the random Wikipedia URL under “location” and under “name”, just give it a name such as “Wikipedia Random”. Then next time you’re bored and Stumbleupon holds no appeal, just click on the button and off you go.

Do you know if any other websites have random buttons? If so, please let everyone know in the comments with the URL of the random button so we can try it out! I am particularly looking for a Delicious random button (if one exists). I emailed Delicious and asked them but they didn’t respond. Does anyone know if they have a random button feature?

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6 Comments -

0 votes

Mark O’Neill

Fantastic, thanks!!

What is the “min=10″? Can this part be removed?

0 votes

Ajit

Yeah..you can just use http://del.icio.us/recent?random for that. I think its for getting random page from pages recently bookmarked (in 10mins)
More here: http://del.icio.us/help/randombuttons

0 votes

JK

Wow…cool. I like the google one but not the wikipedia one. And thanks Ajit for the delicious one. Two many ones ! :)

0 votes

Aibek

Nice one !

0 votes

martin english

This takes me back – No idea what it was, but one of the first URLs I ever learnt about was someone’s Random Web link, from the early or mid 90’s. It had been written as part of the mosaic web project. The sere3ndipity of web surfing in those days :)

0 votes

bob

You can see https://www.google.com/history/items, for interesting statistics about your searches, along with the suggested links part.

I don’t see why people would turn off the search history, Google will be keeping logs of all your searches anyway, it says so in their (not so private) ‘privacy policy’, so turning it off will just darken you to what you searched for! It can serve as an excellent place to remember what you where looking last night but didn’t manage yet and have now forgotten what, but it is also extremely interesting (at least to me) to see that data!

You may as well know what your enemy knows about you, not keeping yourself in the dark.