Veteran web discovery service StumbleUpon updated its Android app on Tuesday, introducing a new look and feel that will soon become familiar to stumblers as it eventually makes its way to iOS and other platforms.
One of the biggest new improvements in the new Android app is a re-emphasis on social features. Likes, lists, interests, and followers are now nestled in a navigation bar found on the left hand side of the screen. There’s a bell icon in the upper right hand corner that drops an “activity center,” which serves notifications, such as links friends have shared with you or new followers. Although StumbleUpon has a large user-base and drives a lot of clicks, it hasn’t really been seen as a social network or an avenue for sharing links with friends and these interface tweaks are aimed at changing that. There are also a few new sharing features in the update, including an easy way to send links through text messages if other social networks are too public.
The new redesign combines the traditional StumbleUpon experience with robust browser navigation tools. If you decide to go down an internet hole several clicks away based on a post StumbleUpon suggested, the soft back key will now bring you back to the StumbleUpon front page. That’s handy — part of the serendipitous fun of StumbleUpon is exploring unusual corners of the web on your own, but it’s nice to be able to easily return to a starting point.
StumbleUpon got its start in the desktop browser, but the new Android app is a great example of how aimless browsing should work on a mobile device. According to mobile product manager Amol Sogal, StumbleUpon is planning apps using this design that include both small screens (Android Wear) and bigger ones (Chromecast.)
The updated app is currently available from Google Play, and a version for iOS is in the works.