After months of speculations, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone has finally taken the wraps off his new venture, a social question-and-answer service for iOS and Android dubbed Jelly. The eight person startup lets users asks questions through uploading pictures and in turn receive answers from their friends and followers on Facebook and Twitter. Users can answer the questions via links, drawing on the image itself, or text. Biz Stone has been working on the project for more than a year and with Jelly, he aims to help people help each other via simple visual questions and answers, which Biz simply refers to as ‘an act of kindness’ in his blog post.
The concept is similar to popular service Quora and Yahoo answers, but the idea of simplicity, including pictures, and strong integration with Facebook and Twitter is what make it stand out. What’s more, being a mobile app makes the process of asking questions all the more intuitive, fun and streamlined. Imagine you came across a place or object of interest while out and about, and want to learn more about it from people who may already have more knowledge about it. You just capture the image from your device’s camera, type your question and bingo!
Both the iOS and Android apps look identical, and while the UI may not seem groundbreaking, it’s decent at best. Upon first launch, you’re asked to sign in via your Facebook or Twitter account, and you can also use both accounts simultaneously to further expand your Jelly network. Jelly’s algorithm then automatically analyzes the available data and put the right question to the right person.
The app puts you straight into the camera interface when launched, where you just have to ‘Point. Shoot. Ask’. You can also draw on images, crop them, and zoom in and out of them to highlight the right part and present the right info in your question. Having done that, you can type in your question, and even attach URLs for further reference.
While Biz didn’t yet go into the nitty-gritty details of how the algorithm that collects data and displays questions and answers to the right audience works, it’s been jokingly referred to as the Finkel Rank, after one of the co-founders’ name. Jelly isn’t just about asking questions, of course; you can also share your knowledge by answering questions being asked, which appear as large slide-able cards. Each card carries the questioner’s name, image, and the question itself. You can either answer a question yourself, or forward it to others who might be more informed on the subject. Answers to a question can be rated as Good and shared among others.
All you questions and can be viewed under the ‘Activity’ stream. At the bottom portion, you can also view the total thanks that received for your answers from other users.
While Jelly is a good app overall, it’s not without its flaws. For instance, the app crashed on my Android phone a few times when asking questions or capturing a photo. I hope such bugs will be ironed out via future updates.
Jelly is available for free at both the supported platforms’ respective app stores. You can download it via the link below.