2006_05_20_stumble.jpgOne of the initial promises of the internet was the idea of access to an entire world's worth of ideas and people. There is something online for pretty much every interest and fetish you can think of, and quite a few you can't, and it's all there for you to enjoy. Problem was, you still needed to know where to look to find the good stuff. It can be very easy to get trapped into a "world wide" web that actually only encompasses a handful of sites (which is fine, we guess, as long as it includes Gothamist...). But let's be honest, rote web surfing with no serendipity kinda sucks pretty quickly. Search engines, social bookmark sites and blog linkrolls offer bajillions of places that you could go and explore, but it never quite works like that, does it?

Enter StumbleUpon. Apparently SU, made by three Canucks, has been around for a few years now, but we first noticed them while browsing extensions for Firefox. While there is actually a pretty hefty, and awesome, social-network style back-end to SU that comes later, initially all you need to know is this: When you have a minute to kill click the StumbleUpon button. A recommended website will then open in your active window. If you like it click the thumbs up button. If you don't like it click the thumbs down button. Repeat ad nauseam.

Every time you repeat the process SU will start to match up your preferences with similar users and then uses that information to recommend better sites for you. Think of it as del.icio.us meets Google's "I'm Feeling Lucky" button.

Honest, we can't stop gushing about this, even though the actual StumbleUpon web interface could be a little more straightforward. In just the past hour some of the sites we've stumbled upon include: a Jackson Pollack Flash game, a state and local government directory, an amazing photograph of a sandstorm in Iraq and an interactive satellite photograph of Earth. None of which we were likely to have seen today otherwise.

You can download StumbleUpon here. But be forewarned, it's very, very addictive. Seriously, we haven't had this much fun surfing the web since we found our first porn site!