Nearly a year ago, Twitter cofounder Biz Stone sat on stage at SXSW and admitted that his social Q&A app, Jelly, was a failure. Now Stone thinks he and his team have found a way to reinvigorate the flameout app that launched two years ago this month.
In what Stone calls an “un-pivot,” the Jelly team is doubling down on the Q&A concept, but this time with more enthusiasm. “We have an audacious grand plan—the complete re-imagining of how people get answers to everyday stuff,” Stone said announcing the app’s reboot on Medium.
The new version of Jelly sounds like it will be close to the original version with a few important tweaks. Jelly version 1—the Android version is still available for download on Google Play at this writing—requires you to sign-up with your Twitter account. Then you can ask a question, and your friends or your extended network (followers of people you follow) will see your question pop up in their Jelly feed. If someone knows the answer or has an opinion to share you’ll see their response. Each question requires a photo to go along with it.
Jelly’s new approach will apparently be more targeted. First, you will only have to sign up for the service if you intend to answer a question. If you are just looking to get an answer you won’t need an account.
Without an account, however, Jelly can’t ask your network of Twitter contacts for help. Instead, Jelly will try and find specific people who might be able to answer your query. “Jelly learns which people know what things and it learns what your question is about,” Stone said in his Medium post. “Then, it pairs your question with people who are most likely able to help you. As a bonus, you can follow up with these real people to get into specifics.”
The original Jelly does this to a certain extent since it asks you about the broad topics you know about. It then likely displays questions in your feed based on those topics. You can also reply to people who answer your queries.
But the new version sounds like it will be much more targeted to produce higher quality answers. Of course, it will also be slower than Google or even the original Jelly since it depends on a smaller pool of people answering your question.
The impact on you: The new Jelly is currently in closed beta but will be launching soon. The new version will have smartphone apps as before (presumably Android and iOS), but adds a web version as well—a feature sorely lacking from the original. If you intend to create an account for the new version you can reserve your user name right now on Jelly’s site.