Sunday, March 22, 2009

StumbleUpon.com => What Yahoo! was for me back in 1996

It's no secret that StumbleUpon.com is highly addictive and can cause many surfers (including myself) to waste entire evenings away just stumbling across the web, finding new websites. The web has always been a great time waster, for an internet geek like myself.

Back in 1996, I could waste entire days -college!- just looking at the various websites listed in the Yahoo! directories. Not withstanding the fact that 56k was slow as heck - and who doesn't remember these horrible animated gifs of the contruction worker on a site in progress?? - I'd check out a web site about X,Y or Z simply because it was online. I didn't care much about its content but it was there and thus it merited my attention.

Then I moved on to using other search engines with mixed results, and then DMOZ.org kept me surfing for a few months until the editorship was taken over by shoddy spammers with promotional agendas. That was a horrible, messy time...

Until Google came along. And somehow, with Google, I ran out of ideas... and started visiting the same websites over and over again. I manage to get a life at that point, thanks Google!

Last year, a friend of mine introduced me to Stumble. It's a subsidiary of Ebay, Inc. Essentially this toolbar, that's installed in your browser, learns what you like based on your preferences and serves you other websites that match your interests. It's done an impressive job at serving me with websites I really enjoy and have bookmarked quite a few.

The toolbar offers a rating system where you can stay if you like or dislike the website, add tags, send it to friends, post comments on it and more. It learns based on the feedback you give it and adjusts future results accordingly.

I love it. It's my guilty pleasure!

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