Wednesday, April 18, 2007

StumbleUpon and Google's StumbleUpon clone

Just as StumbleUpon (a popular toolbar that recommends web pages) is rumored to have been acquired by eBay (congrats, Garrett!), Google personalization guru Sep Kamvar announces a similar feature integrated into the Google Toolbar.

StumbleUpon recommends web pages based on pages you explicitly rate while the Google Toolbar recommendation feature learns from the implicit information in your Google search history to determine what kinds of web pages you seem to like. In my usage, both return a lot of misses and some hits, enough hits to be fun and occasionally useful exploration tools.

See also coverage by Inside Google ([1] [2]), Search Engine Land ([1] [2]), GigaOM ([1] [2]), SearchViews, and Google Blogoscoped.

Update: Mike Arrington notes that the Google feature is "strikingly similar" to StumbleUpon and John Battelle says:
The strategy ... [is to] have something in the wings, in case [they] don't win the acquisition game. This case is small - StumbleUpon. But from sources I've talked to, Google had built an entire Doubleclick killer, in case it did not win there.
Update: Five months later, a BusinessWeek article claims eBay may use StumbleUpon "to recommend items to users based on their shopping history and the shopping histories of other people like them." I wonder if that feature would be in addition to or a replacement of the web page recommender toolbar.

3 comments:

sramana said...

For a long time, I have believed that eBay should have spent money on advertising venue oriented companies, and thought that the Skype acquisition was a stupid move. Only now, it seems to me that eBay's leadership is coming to the same conclusion! Read the rest of my thesis.

Christopher said...

Wow. I'm going to be thinking about that last quote all day.

"in case it did not win there"

In sports it's called practice or training, and they do it because they're determined to win. Only a technology company would see that. Marketing companies worry about being dazzled by the technology and forgetting the audience. It's especially provoking after reading the previous post. I don't think Terry Semel would have done that. Steve Ballmer? Probably not. Steve Jobs would have probably had competing teams on it. Knowing the value, knowing the potential, and starting that first day after 'winn[ing] the acquisition game' as colleagues instead of conquerors... what's the marketing phrase ... 'Priceless.'

masukomi said...

Actually, if you look at Apple history Steve Jobs wouldn't have had competing teams working on it. He would have just copied the app feature for feature, ignored any potential copyright violations because he knew he could make the competiton loose due to Apple having more cash to spend on lawyers and then released it with a claim that it was a truly innovative Apple product.