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Twitter Cofounder Biz Stone Launches Jelly, A Visual Q&A Platform

Biz Stone and Ben Finkel created Jelly to function almost like a modern-day visual search engine.

Twitter Cofounder Biz Stone Launches Jelly, A Visual Q&A Platform

No matter how big the exit, it seems Silicon Valley entrepreneurs eschew retirement. In the case of Twitter (and its $2.1 billion IPO), the cofounders have continued churning out products with fanatical followings: Jack Dorsey went on to create mobile payments startup Square while Evan Williams and Biz Stone built the blog publishing platform Medium. And keeping ever busy, Stone on Tuesday launched his latest venture: Jelly, a question-and-answer app where people’s questions are accompanied by photos of objects they want to learn more about and the answers come from their extended networks.

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Stone and cofounder Ben Finkel created Jelly to function almost like a modern-day visual search engine. “Using Jelly is kinda like using a conventional search engine in that you ask it stuff and it returns answers,” reads the blog post introducing the company. “But, that’s where the similarities end.” Instead, Jelly believes that sophisticated algorithms will fall short to human expertise–a philosophy that even Google subscribes to, hence the launch of its video chat-based marketplace Helpouts.

“We stumbled upon this concept that everyone’s mobile, everyone’s connected, so if you have a question, there’s somebody out there who knows the answers,” Stone says in the video above. As an example, he takes a photo of an unusual structure while strolling through the Presidio in San Francisco. After uploading it, he annotates it by drawing a circle around the spire and enlists his network–and their networks–to crowdsource knowledge. The responses he receives tells him it’s a piece of artwork by Andy Goldsworthy. Questions can be forwarded to others outside the app. “Maybe your friend, or even your friend’s friend doesn’t have the answer. However, your friend’s friend’s friend just might. It’s a small world after all,” the company says.

About the author

Based in San Francisco, Alice Truong is Fast Company's West Coast correspondent. She previously reported in Chicago, Washington D.C., New York and most recently Hong Kong, where she (left her heart and) worked as a reporter for the Wall Street Journal.

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