Twitter co-founder Biz Stone first launched Jelly a couple years ago. It was something of a Q&A service billed as a "new way to search." It didn't really catch on, and work halted. Then, seemingly out of the blue, early this year, Stone announced that Jelly would return thanks to his "renewed enthusiasm" and "entirely new approach" to the product.
This time, users don't need an account to search, and Jelly combines artificial intelligence with human decisions. On Thursday, Stone announced that the new Jelly is live after a period in closed beta.
"Jelly is the only search engine in the world with an attitude, an opinion, and the experience of people to back it all up," he wrote in a post on Medium. "Only Jelly can say you asked the wrong question. Only Jelly can give you answers you wanted but didn’t think to ask. Only Jelly will deliver a thoughtful answer to your anonymous question. This is all because Jelly is humanity plus technology."
Jelly uses a routing algorithm. Stone explains, "Each query and every answer is freighted with metadata. But all this science is in service of getting you the right responses from the right folks. People who can help because they’ve been there, they have the experience, they have the opinion, and most importantly, they have the answers you need — and you can follow up with them too."
Jelly still carries the baggage of a very fundamental question that it did when it launched the first time. Do people want to search like this? More specifically, do they want to search for something and then wait a period of time before getting their answers? Optimistically, I'd say it depends on the type of question. Realistically, I'd say probably not. It would be one thing if search engines like Google were really bad at their job, but they're not. They're getting better all the time.
Before I started writing this article, I asked Jelly, "Why is Jelly supposed to be more useful now than it was when it launched the first time?"
I'll update when I hear back.
Jelly is now available on iOS and the web.
Images via Jelly