StumbleUpon is great but ban it immediately

One of most interesting and addictive new tools on the Web but administrators should immediately ban its use.

StumbleUpon is one of most interesting and addictive new tools on the Web but administrators should immediately ban its use at work.

A few weeks ago I was told by one of my non-technical friends about a great new way to waste time at work -- a browser add-on called StumbleUpon.

It is kind of like having iTunes shuffle the Internet but instead of picking random pages, it only directs you to places that other members of StumbleUpon have said they really like.

When it directs you to a page, you have the option to say whether you like or dislike it. The more StumbleUpon is used, the better idea it has of the types of Web pages you will like. Also, it is able to tell you which other members of the StumbleUpon community have the same taste and interests as you. It could be looked at as a grown up, sophisticated MySpace.

Within a week of signing up, it is now the first place I go for entertainment. Suddenly there is no need to look through hundreds of boring Web pages in order to find a gem. No longer do I have to know what I want and then search for it. Instead I can just hit the random StumbleUpon button and be whisked away to a place that has been pre-selected -- by people with the same interests and tastes as me -- as something that stands out from the norm.

I remember when I first used Google. At the time it was still being run from a garage in Silicon Valley. However, it was revolutionary because it was the first time that Internet search actually worked. Using StumbleUpon gives me the same feeling.

So I love StumbleUpon and think it will grow into something huge. But this is not a good thing for both administrators and management.

For a start, because StumbleUpon is so good at picking interesting and fun pages, it is a massive distraction and highly addictive. Losses in productivity could easily cost more than a huge virus infection.

Secondly, there doesn't seem to be any protection from pages that are infected with a Trojan. So each time you hit the StumbleUpon button is kind of like playing Russian roulette with your security.