Biz Stone (co-founder of Twitter) is definitely a smart guy, a great thinker and knows how to produce a successful startup. However I just don’t see his new venture Jelly making a profound impact.
Jelly is a social search app that lets you share photos with your social network (and extended network) and ask them to identify the contents. The company claims it’s a “new way to search,” constructed on the idea of building a new search engine in today’s mobile and socially connected world.
From the Jelly blog:
Using Jelly is kinda like using a conventional search engine in that you ask it stuff and it returns answers. Jelly changes 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.
5 Reasons Jelly May Not Have a Backbone
It seems you need an extensive and very active social network for Jelly to produce results. Which hey, maybe there is enough of a target market out there to fill it. I would be very interested to see the market research behind it.
2. The Results
As far as it being a new form of search – Search engines exist to receive immediate and (expected) knowledgeable results (answers). Yes it’s true, I’m sure you will receive answers very different from that of an algorithm but will these answers be accurate? Will they be exactly what the user is looking for? Or will they be just silly answers from your friends?
3. Can’t I Do That Now?
Don’t we have a similar capability already with either our social networks, text messages, video messaging, or a combination? Sure if you post a photo on Facebook and wait for an answer maybe a lot of people won’t see it, or at least right away, but how about sending a text to a handful of knowledgeable associates? Or maybe a combination of both using the Facebook Messenger App.
4. Stronghold Competition
What about the slew of Q&A sites out there (Ask.com, Quora, Yahoo Answers, Google Answers) that allow you to pose questions and not only get your question answered but possibly from a knowledgeable professional that would be outside of your social network? Yes these sites are based on pure text questions not photographs, but you could always post a quick link to a photo for description.
Assuming you only get answers from Jelly if others in your network have the app will greatly narrow your field unless it catches like wildfire. Some argue Jelly will go the way of Aardvark and may suffer from “participation fatigue” once the novelty wears off.
We’ve all been there. We’ve found that next latest and greatest app that will push our communication to the next level – well, that is as long as you can get everyone to download it.
Remember how long it took some of your friends to switch over to Facebook from MySpace? They just didn’t want to add something new, to invest more time into something they weren’t quite sure of. Yes, they kicked themselves later for not adapting a bit earlier but look at all the competition for apps and social and time now as opposed to 2008.
Does it sound like a useful app for you? I’m interested to hear your thoughts on Jelly in the comments and maybe hear from some first hand users.