“People like stumbling videos more than webpages,” StumbleUpon founder Garrett Camp tells us in explaining why the service has decided to revamp their video offering, which they’re doing tonight. While you’ve been able to stumble through videos for a couple of years now, they’re finally making the experience more social. And they’re adding two big names to the arsenal: TED and Hulu.
Previously, StumbleUpon was simply using trending data to find hot videos to take your through. But now they’ve integrated their social recommendation engine into the mix to make the entire experience more personalized. In other words, you’ll now be taken to videos liked by people you’re connected with on the service.
And with this as well as the addition of videos from TED and Hulu, the company hopes the experience becomes more than just watching the latest viral videos on YouTube. In fact, Camp talks about this as being more of a “social TV” experience and “a good alternative to television surfing”.
Of course, right now, this is all still confined to the browser, but Camp does envision a future where they bring this social video browsing experience into the living room. The key to that, he says, is making sure all the content is in HD. In the web browser, that doesn’t matter so much, in the living room, it does.
StumbleUpon plus Hulu is particularly interesting here because it is a bit like traditional television surfing. You can stumble through episodes of shows that your friends like. And if you find one you like, you can stay there and watch it. I asked if they were worried that Hulu might not like this usage (Hulu is notorious for blocking unauthorized access), but Camp said he’s sure they’ll be fine with this, because it’s just about finding what you want to watch on Hulu then watching it the same way, ads and all.
Camp also notes that they’ve added a lot of Vimeo content into the mix recently. And says that while there aren’t currently any Facebook videos, it’s something they may think about in the future — but it’s tricky because of the privacy issues and API access needed.
As for other large videos site, Camp says they’re looking at them all. Pretty much anyone using embeddable Flash can be easily added at any point, he says.