StumbleUpon wants to be a search engine. Kind of. It also wants to be more like Twitter and Facebook. Kind of. Better search and better social elements are the two cornerstones of StumbleUpon’s new web site, which was announced this week and will roll out to all during the next month.
There’s no doubt the site looks better. Beyond the cleaner layout, StumbleUpon says its new features include:
- search for sites within your own favorites
- search your friend’s favorites
- improved friend search capabilities
- improved site navigation
- improved navigation within user profiles
There are other changes, too. The old “What’s New” page has been replaced by a “Recent Activity” page; StumbleUpon borrows from Twitter lingo by calling this a page of “nearly real-time updates.” Friend requests have been replaced by “subscription” — when you subscribe to a user, that person’s stumbles will appear in your Recent Activity page. The old “Similarity Meter” is gone, and StumbleUpon Groups has been diminished — it’s now only available through a footer link.
The main thing that hasn’t changed is that new pages must still be added (stumbled) via the StumbleUpon toolbar. This seems odd to me, given that StumbleUpon’s changes seem to encourage more use of its web site. If StumbleUpon wants to position itself as a sort-of search engine, it would be the only search engine where a “submit URL” forum would actually matter; sites and pages don’t get into StumbleUpon without someone submitting them.
I’ve been a StumbleUpon user for several years, and I rarely visit the web site; my activity is almost strictly toolbar-based. StumbleUpon says a new version of the toolbar is on the way, and will also integrate many of these new features.