After about a month of testing with a select group of users, StumbleUpon today has rolled out its Explore Box — a new tool that adds a search layer to the site’s popular, but sometimes quite random, content discovery.
It can be accessed at www.stumbleupon.com/explore or, if you’re logged in, at the StumbleUpon home page.
The Explore Box takes StumbleUpon’s existing list of about 500 pre-selected content topics and essentially throws it out the window — almost any keyword can now be stumbled/explored as if it were a topic.
As an example, I’m a U2 fan, and under the existing Topics/Interests setup, I could potentially find pages about U2 by stumbling through the Music > Rock Music topic. The Explore Box, though, lets me find pages directly about U2 and also suggests a few similar search terms for me in the process.
New Content Sources Enable Wider Search & Discovery
StumbleUpon already offers a search tool of sorts, but it’s limited to finding pages that have been favorited and tagged by users. The company says the Explore Box isn’t faced with those limitations because StumbleUpon has been “ingesting” new content from select partners. One of those partners, for example, is the search engine Blekko — and many of the pages I discovered via the “U2″ search above were provided by Blekko.
One of the existing search options lives in StumbleUpon’s Firefox toolbar. The company says that toolbar search will now be upgraded and have access to the wider array of content that can be discovered via the Explore Box.