Two years ago, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone launched Jelly, a new Q&A service serving as “a new way to search.”
It got a lot of attention for a little while there…until it didn’t. The world largely forgot about its existence, and they even stopped working on it. Now it’s back.
— Jelly (@jelly) January 7, 2016
Stone took to Medium to share his “renewed enthusiasm” and “entirely new approach” to the product.
“When we launched the first version of Jelly we learned something interesting,” he explains. “We had way more answers than questions. It turns out that people love to share what they know—especially when it’s about their favorite spot, hobby, and general area of expertise. That’s why this time around, there’s no account needed to ask a question. You only create an account if you want to answer or otherwise engage.”
“Yes, traditional search engines return thousands of results in a fraction of a second,” he continues. “However, it’s your job to figure out which results are ads (hint: they’re usually the top results), which results are highly ranked because the people who built that web site know how to game the system, and which results might actually be of some help. Often you go through many pages and try different keywords. All of this takes time.”
“We’ve decided not to measure our success by how fast we can show you a massive quantity of possible answers, or how much time you spend on our service. Once you ask a question on Jelly, you can go do something else. We’ll let you know when someone has answered your question. So, it’s not instantaneous, but it’s timely, and you’re getting quality over quantity. We think people will like this. (We do!)”
Will they though? I’m all for new ways of finding helpful information, but I just don’t see this panning out any better this time around than the last time. Typically when people the answer to a question, they want it right away. They often NEED it right away. Thanks to advances in search technology, people expect instant gratification more than ever. Google often answers their questions directly before pointing them to search results. It gets better and better at it as time goes on.
If they want answers from people, they turn to Twitter, Facebook, etc. This just seems like a huge uphill battle.
Either way, if you want to give Jelly a shot, you’re going to have to wait. It’s in closed beta right now, but Stone says it will launch soon. They’re also hiring.
Image via Jelly