StumbleUpon

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StumbleUpon  StumbleUpon

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Bottom Line

Searching is still king, but stumbling is really gaining a footing.

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Like most people, you probably turn to Google to satisfy your online searching needs. But its very effectiveness in turning up thousands of results, which you have to trawl through manually, can soon take the fun out of your quest for knowledge.

Enter, StumbleUpon - a free program that can put the serendipity back into online searches!

StumbleUpon sits on your toolbar, with a massive range of features to allow for "social surfing". But primarily it selects at random, Web sites that are relevant to you, recommended by other Net surfers.

To get started, download Stumble upon, register a user profile, and select your interests from nearly 500 topics, and then you are ready to start stumbling. Hit the "Stumble!" button and you're on your way.

The first thing you notice is that the quality of the Web recommendations is good, because the sites are drawn from a database of 337 million stumbles, where users are actively participating. Your results become more refined as you "stumble along" and rate the sites you visit by selecting the "thumbs up", or a "thumbs down" icon. This allows the StumbleUpon database to record your preferences and associate you with other like-minded users.

Other features in StumbleUpon assist in building a social network as you surf, allowing you to comment about any Web site and discuss related issues. You can also e-mail other users from within the application, while preserving your anonymity. You get access to enhanced features if you wish to pay a subscription of $US20 per year. The most notable is the ability to integrate your Stumbler ratings into your Google search.

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