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StumbleUpon, the social Web service, is doing something pretty cool. No, it’s not going to earn back the $75 million eBay (EBAY) paid for it. But it’s going to start overlaying the information its members have provided about a Web page — whether they like it or don’t, and what they’ve written about it — onto the rest of the web.
StumbleUpon’s product is a toolbar which learns about people’s preferences for Web pages to help them find new ones they’ll like, and the company has collected 100 million ‘thumbs up’ or ‘thumbs down’ for Web pages and 13 million reviewed Web pages over the years.
If StumbleUpon has data for a page it will overlay so-called “SearchReviews” right next to the regular search results page on Google (GOOG), Yahoo (YHOO), MSN, Ask, Flickr, Wikipedia, Yahoo News, YouTube, and Google News. You can see if your StumbleUpon friends like a page, and pivot on a category associated with that page to find more recommended stuff.
StumbleUpon founder Garrett Camp has two good justifications for his tool as compared to other social search engines (such as Wink and Eurekster), which have yet to give the front-runners much of a challenge (then again, places two, three, and four are having trouble giving Google much of a challenge!).
As Camp points out,
1) StumbleUpon has tons of data, so it will already be useful at launch — in internal testing StumbleUpon apparently had results for at least 60 percent of queries.
2) People are unlikely to switch to a new search engine, and the new StumbleUpon feature doesn’t require them to.
So will StumbleUpon SearchReviews be integrated into eBay — or is StumbleUpon bound to be another Skype?
“Not yet,” is Camp’s answer — he says the product will have to be significantly changed to incorporate data about auctions as opposed to Web sites. StumbleUpon apparently isn’t expected to do any integration with eBay for at least the next six months.