I pulled out the old trusty StumbleUpon toolbar this morning to use the Explore Box (the StumbleUpon version of search) to stumble through some topic which I've already forgotten, to find the Explore Box was not there. I asked a few others, and they weren't seeing it either.
Wondering what happened to this tool (and hoping that they were not phasing it out altogether), which I use on pretty much a daily basis (sometimes multiple times throughout the day), I shot an email over to StumbleUpon, and it turns out that they've decided to remove the feature from the toolbar.
A StumbleUpon spokesperson told me, "Explore Box is still an important feature for our community so we decided to make it more readily available for users by moving it from the toolbar (Chrome and Web bar) to the home page. We also believe that removing it from the toolbar will reduce some of the complexity some users experience using the toolbar. We have no plans to eliminate the Explore Box."
Okay, so good news that they're not eliminating the feature. It was not present when they launched the new app for iOS, and I asked it about it then too, when they also told me that it's "still an important feature for the community," and that it would be available in a future release.
I'm not sure how moving it from the toolbar to the home page makes it more readily available to users, given that not only was it already on the homepage, but that the toolbar is available to users no matter what page they're on, but I'm happy they're not getting rid of it entirely.
This seems to be a play to encourage more users to interact with StumbleUpon.com. Historically, the nature of StumbleUpon hasn't really required much use of the domain itself on the user's part. This is one major thing that has really separated StumbleUpon from other social media.
StumbleUpon has, however, been adding more features to its site, and seems to want to get users starting from there more often. With the Explore Box disappearing from the toolbar, users who use this frequently (like myself) will have little choice but to oblige.