Google, eBay and StumbleUpon - The Saga Continues
Yesterday was a very busy day for news about StumbleUpon. As many of you probably already know StumbleUpon has been in acquisition discussions with a number of the large Internet companies recently, including Google and eBay. According to TechCrunch, StumbleUpon has signed a term sheet with eBay to be acquired. Will this be the end of the StumbleUpon we know and love? Will eBay turn it into nothing more than a shopping toolbar filling up our stumbles with auctions and ads from eBay?
Hot on the heels of the announcement about StumbleUpon and eBay, Google announced a new addition to the Google Toolbar, a recommendations button, that looks like a pair of dice. I installed the Google Toolbar for Firefox but do not see the pair of dice yet. Perhaps it is only available for Internet Explorer users. According to the Google Blog the recommendations button will “take you to a site that may be interesting to you based on your past searches”. This sounds surprising like StumbleUpon, with some differences, mainly the recommendations being based on a users search history. There is no mention if Google will be trying to recreate the community aspect of StumbleUpon, which is part of what drives and makes StumbleUpon so interesting. Not to mention will the Google recommendations be able to drive traffic to a site that people like StumbleUpon does so well. Is Google perhaps playing the school yard bully here. They did not get their own way so they are coming out punching.
It seems that Google, for a change, is actually playing catch up on this one. People use StumbleUpon to “channel surf” the Internet, not search the Internet. When I am searching for something specific I use Google, when I want to discover new websites, I use StumbleUpon. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the future and how it might affect how Google views Adsense and StumbleUpon? Will StumbleUpon now be considered an autosurf program that will eventually get people banned from Adsense?