App of the Week – StumbleUpon!

Waste time on the internet with 10 million of your closest friends

 

Platform: iPad

Price: £free

The internet is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. You may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to the internet. So instead of trying vainly to master, navigate or even comprehend it, StumbleUpon! lets you just teleport randomly around the web, presenting you with pages that might tickle your fancy. 

This new update adds a brand new UI, all scrolling columns and rows and one-tap icons. It's pretty easy to get started: you choose from large set of interests; use your iPad's address book, Facebook or Twitter to add your friends; and then get Stumbling. (The service has over 10m users, so you're bound to find a few of your real friends already using it). The big Stumble! button picks a page at semi-random, depending on your friends' ratings and your interests, then you simply swipe from one Stumble to the next.

At each stop, you can like/dislike a page, which affects your future Stumblings, or post and view comments. This is the best bit of StumbleUpon!, an internet-wide comments page where you can look at what other people have liked and follow their own Stumblings, too. You can also share pages in all the usual ways, plus a few less common ones (Google Reader, Tumblr and Instapaper) too. 

The home page brings it all together, showing your interests, your friends and some Stumbling options. Choosing photos or videos is the perfect online timewaster, but news is a bit rubbish - and certainly no replacement for reader apps like Pulse or Taptu. You might also get annoyed that the app doesn't skip past Flash pages, so there's the occasional blank screen. Overall, though, StumbleUpon! is a superb way of appreciating the brain-melting size of the internet, without getting (too) lost along the way.

 

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