Pinterest Acquires Crowd-Sourced Search Engine Jelly
Okay, maybe it's not such huge news, but it's interesting nonetheless.
"...the goal of creating a fun and useful way for people to help other people."
The app went through a few incarnations, but essentially, it's now a crowd-sourced search engine - you post a question and it's then shown to subject matter experts who can theoretically provide better, more contextual answers than, say, a Google search.
As explained by Stone:
"Web search prides itself on providing hundreds of millions of potentially relevant documents in fractions of a second. Then you spend your time researching those results to come up with something that satisfies. Getting to a real answer may take a few seconds, it may take several minutes-that time adds up. Think about the time you spend "searching" each day. Those minutes easily turn into hours. Jelly gives you your time back. Enter your question, then return to your life.
Because Jelly relies on people, not algorithms, the idea is that the responses you get can be more direct and more nuanced, thereby providing a better user experience, especially for certain types of queries.
And while Jelly largely faded from view following a flurry of initial interest, last September, Jelly launched a new Twitter service to boost usage - tweet a question to #askjelly and that query will be posed to the Jelly community, providing you with a tweet response once available.
So why would Pinterest want Jelly?
As Stone explains it, their approach to search process is aligned:
"When we talked about Jelly joining forces with Pinterest, things got really interesting. Their mission was astonishingly similar to ours. Human powered search, a subjective search engine, and discovering things you didn't know you need to know. These are all key to Jelly!"
Given Pinterest's focus on product discovery, maybe Pinterest will look to utilize a Jelly-like format to help shoppers get better ideas on related products and fashions by posing queries to a Pin-focused Jelly team - crowd-sourced personal shopping, as it may be. There are plenty of people seeking fashion advice and assistance, maybe Pinterest can adapt Jelly into an expert team of fashion and recipe curators to provide quick, relevant recommendations, along with related Pin links to guide their advice.
This seems to be the most obvious way Pinterest would be able to adapt Jelly - but it also seems that that could do similar without acquiring Jelly's technology. Jelly does use machine learning in their system to better categorize and sort the various queries and ensure they reach the right experts.
Maybe there's more to that technology that Pinterest sees real potential in.
In addition, Jelly does have very close ties with Twitter - that wouldn't appear to add any significant value for Pinterest, but then again, maybe there's a way to facilitate a closer tie up with Pins, similar to Jelly's #askjelly process.
Right now, it's hard to know exactly where they're headed - Stone notes that they're still working out the details and it's unclear if Jelly will remain separate or be integrated into Pinterest.
Either way, it's an interesting acquisition for Pinterest as it looks to continues to expand its search and discovery functionality.
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