StumbleUpon, one of the strongest social media aggregation sites on the web today, has just launched a very exciting new Beta feature called Explore, which essentially allows a user to now view StumbleUpon results and pages by entering in a targeted phrase to search.
This is really huge for StumbleUpon and its users, as one of the biggest complaints I have heard over the years was that when using the site, they were limited to finding content based only on very high level categories.
For those not quite up to speed with StumbleUpon, it is essentially a social aggregation site, that uses either a framed toolbar or an installed version, to allow users to vote and find content based on the categories you sign up for in your profile.
With the new Explore feature, you can now enter a phrase very specific to what you are looking for or interested in, to find page after page related to that topic. As you can see below, not every phrase will result in something related, but they try to provide you options when no results are found for your search.
It is not clear yet what methods they are using to determine “interests,” but some of the results seem a little long and strange to be tag-based, which is how users define content they are submitting or reviewing.
So how can you use the new Explore feature? Its pretty easy, as StumbleUpon does a good job of integrating all their releases into the entire site.
Head over to http://www.stumbleupon.com/explore/. Once its out of Beta or if you are included in the Beta release and logged in, you will be able to enter in your phrase of interest.
Once you select your interest phrase, it will then take you to the first page that best matches that interest. You will notice that the interest has been added to the toolbar and while that interest remains active, each time you use the stumble button to see a new page, the result will be based on that specified interest.
To change your interest at anytime, simple click the active interest field, in this case ‘star wars’, and a pull down menu will open allowing you to enter a new interest to explore. Or just click the ‘X’ and return it to the default ‘all interests’.
If you happen to use the Firefox or IE toolbars, you can still get pages related to your interest after using the Explore landing page, but you are not able to see that interest active in your toolbar, or change that interest from the toolbar either. I am sure this is something that will be released shortly but was not on the currently Beta toolbar release at http://www.stumbleupon.com/beta/.
You can also visit the “home” tab, which is also your landing page when visiting StumbleUpon while logged into your account. You will be presented with the Explore box here, along with an option not on the main Explore landing page and something we will go into next: the ability to save your interests.
Another really cool aspect of the Explore release, is that not only can you search one time for these specific interests, but you can use the Explore box on the ‘Manage Interest’ page and actually subscribe to these interest and start viewing related pages during your regular usage of StumbleUpon, which in default combines all your interests to show you content from all of them.
Note however, that when you search an interest on the Manage Interest page and press enter, you are actually subscribing to it, so be careful you double check all your subscribed interest before leaving the section, to make sure you did not add a bunch you did not really want.
If you have any thoughts on this new feature or if you have any information on it we have missed, please comment below.