After a year in stealth mode, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone has finally pulled back the curtain on his secretive startup.
It’s called Jelly, and it’s a mobile-focused search startup that uses networks of friends to help answer questions.
Think of the user interface as a mashup of the modern startup landscape. Equal parts Quora, Snapchat and Twitter, Jelly’s premise rests on the idea that for questions you have about the real world, you’d be better off seeking knowledge from your disparate friend networks than, say, something like Google or even Facebook’s Graph Search.
“No matter how sophisticated our algorithms become, they are still no match for the experience, inventiveness, and creativity of the human mind,” Jelly’s founders wrote in its debut blog post.
In a nutshell: Users take photos of things they have questions about in the real world — What sort of tree is this? Is this a dog or a cat? Where am I? — and can annotate them with text, drawings and links embedded into the photo post. That’s then pushed out to their connected Facebook and Twitter friends, who can offer answers or refer the questions to other friends.
I’m skeptical at first blush. Aside from the slightly confusing user interface, the app seems to try to solve a problem that other social networks — namely Quora — are already tackling. (And that said, Quora isn’t quite the hot, buzzy startup it used to be.)
To be fair, it’s day one, and version one; we have no idea whether the market will jump on the social question train. But with Stone’s Twitter pedigree, the app may indeed see ample early adoption from launch-day buzz alone.