Eclectic Pick: Underground Reviews

Clay Beverly

StumbleUpon, much like Google, has become a regular fixture in internet culture over the past few years. Founded by Garrett Camp, Geoff Smith, Justin LaFrance, and Eric Boyd, StumbleUpon is a service that allows its users (dubbed Stumblers) to randomly access websites based on their predetermined interests at the click of a button. The process is both genius and complex, and it all comes down to user input.

When you register to become a Stumbler, you’re presented with a list of categories (such as art, sports, literature, etc) and told to select the things that interest you the most. After this process is completed, StumbleUpon creates a unique filter based on your input that sifts through thousands of web-pages submitted by other Stumblers, and picks out the sites that are best suited to your unique tastes. Stumblers have the opportunity to rate the websites they “stumble” upon (thumbs up for satisfactory, or thumbs down for disappointing), and they can also submit websites to the StumbleUpon service, to be entered in to the website’s vast database and into user circulation.

The StumbleUpon formula becomes even more convenient with the StumbleUpon Toolbar, compatible with Internet Explorer and Firefox browsers. The toolbar plugs in underneath your address bar, and allows for easy stumbling on the fly. From this bar, Stumblers have access to the full service: one click of the “stumble” button activates the process instantaneously, and from the control panel a stumbler can reach his or her favorites list as well as numerous other diverse applications.

StumbleUpon is a fun and easy way to discover websites you’d never know existed without the aid of the service, and the toolbar format makes StumbleUpon even more accessible than ever. It’s a light download for an application so full of content, and it’s definitely something you won’t want to miss out on.