Biz Stone and Ben Finkel have launched Jelly.
Jelly changes how we find answers because it uses pictures and people in our social networks.
In short, if you’re wondering about something and have a question you can use Jelly to ask those in your extended social network to find the answer rather than searching for it yourself via Google/Bing/Yahoo.
I think this is a great idea and it seems to be fairly well-executed for a first version. I’d be willing to bet that Jelly will see massive adoption, but I don’t think it will ever come close to the same level of usage as, say, Google or perhaps even Twitter.
To say that nearly everyone uses a search engine isn’t overreaching. Anyone that is connected to the Internet in some way will eventually use a search engine. Be that via voice with Google Now or Siri, or via their browser’s location bar, or by actually visiting the homepage’s of Bing or Yahoo.
One could argue that search is the web’s raison d’être. Communication, commerce, and data transfer would round out the big four (if there were such a thing). So to build anything on top of one of the main utilities of the web, coupled with the usefulness of the social graph, seems like a no-brainer. However, I wonder how it can ever scale to the height of search once the novelty wears off.
Grabbing an app like Jelly and answering a few questions that fly in for my friends may seem fun now… but what if you started getting questions all the time? LMGTFU. These sorts of things didn’t come out of nowhere. They came about because people got sick of people not looking up the answers for themselves.
In the introduction video Biz says something to the effect of… knowledge is different than information. And boy is he right. And I like helping people as much as the next person. But, once people begin to ask me rather than take any time learn themselves it begins to grate.
As I said, I think Jelly is a great idea and is definitely a worthy thing to be working on. And, with someone like Biz behind it, who has hit a few doubles, a triple, and a home run already, I’m sure it will find traction and – perhaps – a suitor. But I’ll be watching to see how far this really goes.