StumbleUpon is a veritably ancient service in the realm of web discovery. In fact, I seem to recall that way before Facebook came around, I already clicked an “I like it!” button many times each day. StumbleUpon is a service that creates a customized surfing experience, which is tailored to your exact liking by narrowing down on subjects and specific websites you like. With time, as many other services, it also became a social experience.
Recently, StumbleUpon have released a new version of their iPad app. It is now more social and also looks much better. I took it for a spin after not using StumbleUpon for a while, and I must say – I might be hooked again.
Stumbling with StumbleUpon is fun. If you’ve never done it before, you’d have to create an account with StumbleUpon. The first screen you see when you first load the app will prompt you to either log in with your existing account or create one (which you can now also do by connecting to Facebook).
After logging into your account, you can view your profile page. If you’ve used StumbleUpon before, this will already be populated by your liked websites and whatever personal info you’ve entered. In my case, it seems that I’m 23 years old. Hard to believe I’ve had a StumbleUpon account for so many years!
From your profile page you can also see who’s following you and the people you are following, and easily browse or even stumble within your favorites.
If you haven’t used StumbleUpon before, or if it’s been a while, you should configure your interests. By doing this, you make sure that you only stumble to websites that are likely to interest you. Not everyone wants to look at clothing and beauty websites, for example. This interface is really fun and easy to use. You can look at popular interests or browse all the interests by category or by first letter.
After choosing your interests, take a look at your homepage. You don’t really have to use it, but it’s sure nice to look at. From here you can start stumbling all your interests or just one of them, stumble some interests that are “Best for iPad Stumbling” (I guess they just look good on the iPad?), find friends, see the people you’re following and so on.
From any page you’re on, you can start stumbling simply by tapping the “Stumble” button on the top left side of your screen. If you like what you see, hit “I like it!”. This will add the website to your favorites and also help teach StumbleUpon what you like. If you don’t like it, make sure to tap the thumbs down button, so StumbleUpon knows you don’t want any more of those in the future.
From any page, you can easily decide to stumble just one of your interests. Tap the words next to the Stumble button to choose what you feel like seeing. Only feel like browsing online games today? No problem!
Another neat feature of the iPad app is the ability to browse your recently viewed websites by swiping sideways – sort of like turning pages. There are also arrow buttons at the bottom of the screen for this purpose. When you swipe to the next page when you’re on the latest website, it stumbles, so you can just keep on turning pages and never even worry about the Stumble button.
The Social Aspect
StumbleUpon has always had a social aspect, but in the new version it’s even better. The first thing you might want to do is find some StumbleUpon friends and follow them (and hope they follow you back).
You can currently do this by connecting StumbleUpon to your Facebook or Twitter and looking for friends that use StumbleUpon. For me, this only yielded one person. I guess my Facebook friends don’t use StumbleUpon. It also offered to scan my address book, but since I don’t really have one on the iPad, it found nothing. I’m still wondering how I can find friends who I know are using StumbleUpon but are not in my Facebook or Twitter. An option to just look for someone by username would have been helpful.
In every page you stumble to, you will now get a name of a person who likes it, and a “Comments & Info” button.
You can view the person’s profile and decide to follow him, or just browse his favorites. This is a good way to find people with similar interests and it provides yet another way to discover new websites. If you tap the “Comments & Info” button, you can view profiles of many other people who liked this page, view this page’s comments and comment on the page yourself.
As before, you can share your discoveries with the world using various methods. This is the full list of ways, but you can edit it to your liking – not all the options have to appear here, only the ones you use. If you wish to share via one of the services, you will of course need to have an account with that service and sign into it before you can share.
This is what it looked like when I shared using Facebook. I already connected StumbleUpon to Facebook previously, when I was searching for friends, so now the sharing option worked seamlessly. Just by tapping the share button and choosing Facebook I could immediately post a link on my wall, without leaving the app. Pretty cool!
StumbleUpon did a terrific job with this new app. If you’re even slightly into discovering cool new websites, or even if you’re just bored and looking for a way to burn some free time, do check it out.
What do you think of StumbleUpon? Know of better ways to discover the web? Do share in the comments.