StumbleUpon is a browser toolbar that recommends Web sites based on viewing patterns of other people with similar user profiles. StumbleVideo will do the same type of recommending for video, only it is not a browser extension. It is a Web site that works within the browser.
“We’ve seen a lot of growth in stumbling videos and now we’re able to bring you highly relevant, high quality content, based on your preferences,” said David Feller, vice president of marketing at StumbleUpon. “It’s very difficult to find something that is relevant to you just on searching ‘humor videos,’ or ‘cat videos.’ With StumbleVideo, you never leave the page. The content is brought directly to you. It’s a lot like channel searching but everything is customized based on your interests and preferences.”
To begin with, StumbleVideo will serve videos from the top three video sites: YouTube, Google Video, and Myspace. Feller said that any site with embeddable video can and will be served in the future but they chose these three in the interest of a timely launch.
Before StumbleVideo learns a users’ preferences, it starts them out with 20 video categories. Within the category, it starts playing videos, which users then give either a thumbs up or a thumbs down. The program will then play the subsequent videos accordingly. Users can also click on a triangle in the bottom right portion of the screen to open a side screen showing which users watched and liked the same video.
One issue I have with this is the privacy issue. What if I don’t want people to know what I watch online? VodPod has a setting where you can set certain video views to private.
“That is not the way that StumbleUpon works right now,” Feller said. “Everything is public. We might consider changing that in the future but right now it is a completely open social network.”
StumbleUpon has 1.65 million registered users in 139 countries, who “stumble” 4 million sites per day. The company was rumored to be for sale for $50 million last month but executives did not comment on that in our call on Wednesday.