Are You Ready for This Jelly (app)?

You’re strolling along, on vacation in a foreign place, and you see a building that you probably should recognize, but can’t quite remember the name. You don’t see street signs anywhere, to search Google for a landmark in the area, and you don’t speak enough of the local language to ask any passers-by. Are you just out of luck?

Not anymore, hopes Twitter co-founder Biz Stone. Him & a team of investors (including Jack Dorsey of Twitter, and Bono, of, well, Bono) have just released the Jelly app, a cool new tool that will allow someone to utilize their social media networks as a virtual search algorithm all its own. With the Jelly app, members can ask questions, and, more importantly, take pictures of things that they’d like to identify & learn more about.

Image-based search is certainly not a new concept; Google has had its Goggles feature available to Android and iOS users for years now. However, unlike Goggles, which relies purely on algorithmic responses, the Jelly app depends on responses from real people, which may (or, may not) be more reliable, depending on how obscure the object.

A big advantage that Jelly has over Goggles, at least early on, is that picture quality will be less of importance. Anyone who has taken pictures on their phones knows that, often, the results can be less than stellar– blurry, out-of-focus, etc. Since Jelly searches will be answered by humans, their won’t be a need for a perfect photo; and, since there is accompanying text to go with photos (140 character limit, of course), inquiring minds will have a little more freedom to explain what exactly they are looking for.

Not only is the app practical for use, but potentially offers advertisers interested in social media an additional avenue to pursue, eventually. Since the Jelly app utilizes a user’s existing social connections, there is no need for newcomers to build up yet another network, which is likely going to be a big selling point once the service catches on.

Of course, there will be obstacles to overcome, especially in the early-going. People seeking information will have to have others in their network who are also using the app, and of course, also happen to have answers to their inquiries. There’s also bound to be issues with inappropriate material as well, although that likely won’t be a problem unless the app becomes very popular. For now, it’s a fun tool to test, and I’m personally interested to see what will develop, both from a user and advertiser perspective.

The Jelly app is available for Android & iOS on their website. For those looking for additional information, check out the video below.