StumbleUpon’s new Explore Box adds search engine functionality to web surfing

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StumbleUpon Explorer BoxStumbleUpon debuted a new “Explore Box” feature today that lets you find community-endorsed content when typing in a specific word or search term.

No longer are people restricted from searching content within a set of about 500 topics, which was the site’s previous standard for searching. The new search engine-like functionality is far more dynamic.

“Can we do for discovery what others have done for search,” said StumbleUpon VP of Business Development and Marketing Marc Leibowitz in an interview with VentureBeat. “We think there’s a big opportunity here.”

One of the intentions behind Explore Box is to open up StumbleUpon to a whole new audience of people that use the site in different ways, according to Leibowitz. By doing so, the site’s discovery ability will improve over time.

“Hundreds of thousands of interests are now waiting to be explored. For example, let’s say you need some ideas for this weekend’s barbecue. Type “grilling” into the Explore Box, and we’ll inspire you with mouth-watering photos recommended by grilling aficionados and delight you with recipes that will make you the star of the party,” wrote StumbleUpon senior product manager Xian Ke on the company’s blog.

A beta version of the Explore Box feature is available on StumbleUpon’s web app today. Mobile versions, which is of increasing interest to the company according to Director of Communications Mike Mayzel, will get the Exploe Box functionality with a month or so.