Home Mobile Serendipity: StumbleUpon Heads to iPhone & Android

Mobile Serendipity: StumbleUpon Heads to iPhone & Android

Less than a month ago, we told you about how social bookmarking and discovery service StumbleUpon has quietly grown into a Web behemoth, driving nearly twice as much traffic as its closest competitor, Digg. One of the things that makes the service stand out from the others is its ability to learn your habits and tastes to feed you relevant links upon which to stumble. Today, the service is brining the serendipity of its recommendation engine to a smartphone near you with boredom-killing apps for the iPhone and Android.

“Think about all those times when you’re riding the bus, sitting at the airport gate, or waiting for friends, playing with the same mobile apps again and again,” writes the company today on its blog. “Now you can have the perfect boredom-buster: with StumbleUpon for the iPhone and Android, the best of the web is, literally, at your fingertips.”

For those unfamiliar with the service, the concept is fairly simple. Simply select a few topics that interest you and StumbleUpon will begin showing you various gems from around the Web. You can rate links with a thumbs up or down or share it with other users and social networks like Facebook and Twitter. And of course at any moment, you can tap the StumbleUpon logo to be whisked away to something new.

Some drawbacks to the app are that it doesn’t let you can comment on items, and the built in browser doesn’t allow scrolling or movement within a page until it is completely finished loading. This can be extremely annoying when viewing a long scrolling page of photos, but the app does include some options to counter this frustration.

If you’re stumbling on-the-go, a setting (which is unfortunately accessible only from the phone’s settings menu, not from within the app itself) will allow you to stumble directly to previews. I recommend using the “Current View” setting, which will take you to either full pages or previews based on where you were when you clicked the stumble button.

Sharing to Twitter and Facebook was fairly painless. Twitter’s authentication process went faster, but when I posted the tweet the screen didn’t go away or provide any sort of confirmation. I had to check my Twitter feed on my desktop to be sure it had posted. While Facebook takes a bit longer to authenticate due to permissions and privacy settings, it posted quickly without confusion.

I have been largely absent from StumbleUpon lately, but the new mobile interface for the service may bring me back. I do wish, however, that Tumblr (my photo sharing service of choice), was an option for sharing from within the app. Saving images to your phone from the built-in browser is not possible, and cropping out the StumbleUpon toolbars is too much work just to get a picture up on Tumblr from your phone. You can, however, simply give items the thumbs-up and view it later on the desktop.

Despite this, the StumbleUpon app could certainly rekindle my interest in the service, and should be a no-brainer download for fans of the service.

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