Major Update Comes To StumbleUpon

Popular discovery engine StumbleUpon is rolling out a major update.

A lot of the update is cosmetic, the blog VentureBeat reported yesterday.

For instance, the service sports a new orange logo, and a new design (it looks sort of like YouTube’s new redesign).

But most exciting to content creators is the addition of “Stumble Channels.” These are channels hand-curated around a certain topic. The selections here can be selected by brands, celebrities or StumbleUpon staff. All links are verified by staff. This feature will not be a part of StumbleUpon’s discovery algorithm.

It seems as if StumbleUpon is joining the curated lists bandwagon. This new feature loosely resembles Tumblr’s curated tags feature.

The design is sleek, and on the surface it looks like a great way to discover things that are curated by human and not by machine.

But the real question is, will it be successful?

Lots of traffic passes through StumbleUpon, but what will it take for people to look at these curated channels? And will it be worth looking at these channels if they’re not powered by StumbleUpon’s algorithm?

That will be key. News organizations and other content creators push content on StumbleUpon because the service has a ton of traffic — 1 billion “stumbles” in October. Will the StumbleUpon brand will be strong enough for people to take a look at something that’s a little different?

For this to succeed, these content channels will have to be integrated into the service’s popular browser bar. Who knows if that will actually happen, since this seems like an attempt to draw more traffic to StumbleUpon’s physical website. But for many, there’s nothing easier than hitting that StumbleUpon button.

We’ll have to wait and see if this new feature will be a worthwhile one for news organizations to look into.

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