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Jelly: Search Using Your Peers? Will You Be Willing to Donate Your Free Time? [VIDEO]

ImageIt's now true: Biz Stone's Jelly has finally launched, and it promises to change "how we find answers because it uses pictures and people in our social networks. It turns out that getting answers from people is very different from retrieving information with algorithms. Also, it has the added benefit of being fun."

This simple yet technologically crazy statement raises a few interesting questions for social media users.

"People are good," but people are strange when you're a stranger

The whole principle of Jelly is summarized in a short letter written by Biz Stone himself, few months ago:

"People are basically good—when provided a tool that helps them do good in the world, they prove it."

The myth is that thanks to a genuine common sense and generosity, people are going to progressively add value to the platform: we can imagine that Jelly's algorithms are going to gather and analyze our millions of answers, to create patterns which will improve the users' journey into the future. That is theorically very interesting: because of our human nature, we're going to find unexpected and new ways to solve problems. As people add their contact details and minds to the network, the network is then going to become more and more relevant...

Again, this is a very ideological principle; think about Twitter, most of the strategies are not THAT virtuous. You experience hate, the filter bubble... What was initially presented as a fantastic driver for democracy is as limited as a lot of other social networks. There are rules to restrain or promote users, and there are now rules to generate profit. As we're now more and more used to apps everywhere, that we've already contributed - for free - to so many platforms, is Jelly really going to take off without a little help?

As time and reputation are our modern currencies, will we give our free time and personal networks to an app?

We'll see, but whatever happens, it's going to be very interesting for any start-up that is trying to create critical masses of users. As Jelly - smartly - says: "No matter how sophisticated our algorithms become, they are still no match for the experience, inventiveness, and creativity of the human mind." In other words: they're free (aka they have enough cashflow) to test, to try and fail, and then try again.

Power of suggestion + power of recommendation = massive relevancy in real life

There's been a growing interest in the last couple of years to mash up the power of suggestions (initially Google) and the power of recommendation (initially Amazon or social networks in general). What Jelly brings with its snapshot / share / ask your problem to your circles / evaluate best answers is that this sought after balance can suddenly be achieved in real life, where users have a real problem. Going on a search engine through a smartphone takes a lot of times, browsing is boring. And you can't download thousands of apps for your billions of needs.

It's going to be super interesting to watch if people accept a messy-regulated interface to get what they need in a single place. 

Join The Conversation

  • SFenthusiast's picture
    Jan 11 Posted 3 years ago SFenthusiast

    Thanks for your post, Laurent! I believe that Biz's product is a faster way to get answers for basic questions vs. Google search, given the following: "...the key to Jelly’s success: it relies on users to learn how to ask the right questions, not just give the right answers." ~Lauren Hockenson.

    There is a market eager for the semantic web to firm up, for search to move from indirect AI, to strong AI such that it can at least answer basic human questions effectively. Biz would reach part of that market just by releasing Jelly through the adoption cycles.

    The intention behind the platform is strong enough, and being clearly messaged enough by Biz, such that users over the adoption cycles will probably learn one of the secrets to life sooner than later: asking the right questions is a laudable, and valuable skill.

    Another smart move on Biz's part (and twitter): It's good timing with twitter's Nearby tweets timeline for mobile. One of the goals of social is to physically meet our engagers, and influencers (potential friends, colleagues, etc.). So, the combination of Nearby tweets, and Jelly could prove to be a great pairing. Jelly could be the jam, for a market segment of twitter's peanut butter: working together like a social glue sandwiched between virtual, and physical worlds.

    Google will eventually reach the strong AI threshold, and return faster answers. Perhaps, Jelly's fun factor will allow it to co-exist in Google's market even so?

  • YaelKochman's picture
    Jan 9 Posted 3 years ago YaelKochman

    Great concept, we all prefer answers from people we know (even if we don't really know them..). The UI on the website is very confusing though. Would be interesting to see how it evolves

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