StumbleUpon sells itself as a remote control for the internet, allowing the user to channel surf far flung corners of the web in the hope of happening upon something interesting.
Not a search engine, but a ‘discovery engine’. Much like a personalised web version of Sky’s Anytime, StumbleUpon suggests sites it thinks will match your own interests, based on recommendations from other StumbleUpon members.
With more and more people using their tablets and smart phones for web browsing, solid intuitive apps are essential to a platform’s growth.
In common with most other web companies therefore, mobile technology is StumbleUpon’s fastest growing area and the company has responded with an updated app for the iPad.
The app replacing its original version launched in April last year, which was swiftly followed by iPhone and Android apps.
Introducing swipe functions makes this updated application significantly more user-friendly for the hardcore Apple user, and the use of photo thumbnails makes the app very attractive and more streamlined.
An entirely new feature for iPad users is the ‘social bar’ at the top of each stumbled page.
The bar highlights another user who has liked that site, offering you the opportunity to connect with new people.
If the page has been recommended by a friend, or someone you are already linked to on StumbleUpon, the use of an avatar on the social bar means quick recognition, as well as offering a personal endorsement you trust.
The app still allows users to share pages on other social networking sites such as Facebook or Twitter, and now the social bar addresses the personal interaction which was lacking from StumbleUpon.
This socialisation aspect has long been included in Facebook and Twitter, with their suggestions of people to follow or pages you might like, and it’s already proving a popular addition for StumbleUpon users.
Currently the social bar only highlights one user who has recommended each page, but StumbleUpon say there are plans to extend this function.
Moving forward, StumbleUpon has an eye to the future and a keen awareness of the need to keep up with the likes of Facebook and Google+.
The social bar function on their updated app is currently only available for the iPad, but Marc Leibowitz, Vice President for Business Development at StumbleUpon says, “It’s not inconceivable that we would do this with other tablet devices.”
With Amazon’s much anticipated tablet already snapping at the heels of the iPad, that could be a shrewd.