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By 18 August 2011 | Categories: news

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Chances are, if you think about finding information on the internet, your first thought is probably to resort to Google or a search engine of your choosing. However StumbleUpon, which is aimed at delivering the otherwise overlooked gems of the internet, and offer a greater element of surprise when surfing, has released a new feature this week that it hopes will make this otherwise random act more focused.

The company explained that the new Explore Box will offer users a new way to explore even more of the things they love. While the default Stumble feature has been effective enough, requiring users to choose from a selection of 300 categories and then waiting to see what the discovery engine delivers, its greatest strength has also been a weakness, in that it can too random at times.

The company elaborated that with the new feature, users will be able to type a word or phrase into the Explore Box and the discovery engine will bring them community-endorsed content related to their specific interest or passion. While on the surface this sounds similar to the current functionality, the ability to search for keywords while narrowing down the possible results to a category of interest should offer a more targeted approach to online discovery.

On its blog, the company gave the example of users being able to  enter ‘grilling’ into the Explore Box, and the new feature would deliver photos recommended by grilling aficionados as well as recipes that may go unnoticed in a conventional search. In our test, the new feature worked handily. Instead of being limited to stumbling through the art category and hoping to come across some alluring computer generated art, we used the explore box to enter ‘digital art’ and then discovered sites pertaining to that phrase.

While the new feature worked well enough for us to convince us of its viability, the company stressed that the Explore Box is still in a beta phase, and elaborated that the company would be continually testing and making improvements over the coming weeks.

The Explore Box can either be access from one’s StumbleUpon homepage after logging in, or it can be accessed here.


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