Last week, YouTube updated their entire homepage, as Fueled noted here. While many aspects of the site were improved, the biggest change was the increased integration of channels, which allowed users to see the newest videos from the channels they subscribed to right from their homepage. YouTube is hoping to change the way that people use their site with this update, so that people will look to find new videos right from YouTube’s homescreen as opposed to exchanging links with friends. But now, StumbleUpon, the popular discovery website that lets users find new websites to explore based on their specific preferences, is trying to cash in on channels as well.
As always, StumbleUpon’s users can choose exactly what their interests are, with very specific choices. By pressing the Stumble button, StumbleUpon will send the browser to a random site that falls within the interests chosen. This hasn’t changed. But along with the interests that people can choose from, there is now a channels option that users can subscribe to. For instance, CNN, ESPN, and Architectural Digest each have individual channels, which let users stumble for pages within their websites. Once subscribed, StumbleUpon users can choose to stumble within those channels instead of stumbling regularly. Instead of being directed to videos by the channels, users will get to see random pages within the channels. It’s the same concept as YouTube’s channels, but tailored for a StumbleUpon audience.
With this change, two major Internet players have decided that channels are part of the Internet’s future. Since new websites spring up daily, it can be hard to sort out what information is useful from the wealth of information on the Internet. In YouTube’s case, so many videos were being posted that it was hard to find exactly the right video without having to sort through clips that weren’t relevant. And with so many sites to choose from, some Stumbles were bound to miss the mark. With these channels, both YouTube and StumbleUpon have given their users a guide to what they have to offer, so that they can get to what they want faster. With so many options at our fingertips, having an aide to show us the way is appreciated.