US Patent number US6285999 B1, “Page Rank” Inventor, Lawrence Page

At a tech conference recently, I was only partly joking when I said, “Everyone is working on Artificial Intelligence, what about just, Intelligence?” The true promise for the future of technology is for it to find a way to work with humanity such that the two are made better. Ideally, our best traits are amplified by technology. The best of technology is unlocked when humanity is woven into its DNA. That’s the win-win scenario.

Back In The Day

I worked at Google when it was still a “startup,” before it became a public company. The reverence for speed and relevance was held sacred over all else. People all around the world were learning that they could ask Google not just to find documents or web sites, but to answer almost any question put to it. PageRank quickly outranked friends and family. When I was there in 2003, Google was the way to find answers. Mostly, it still is.

There’s ads there now, but Google was all about displaying the most relevant results first and fast.

Today’s Technology Landscape

Jelly sprung from the question, “What would search look like if it was invented today?” We embraced today’s technology landscape. We focused on mobile because our phones are practically an appendage. We focused on people because the new six degrees of separation is four. It became apparent that a long list of possible answers, in the form of hyperlinks, didn’t seem like the future. Jelly should deliver the answer itself. On demand.

Bringing Humanity to Search

I’m fond of saying, “Google brought search to humanity. Jelly brings humanity to search.” Every single question submitted to Jelly returns a direct response—short and sweet, every time. Google has an algorithm for what they call featured snippets, “When a user asks a question in Google Search, we might show a summary of the answer…” But Jelly provides human written, snippet-style answers for every query.

From the Jelly mobile app (still in closed beta)—every answer is akin to a “featured snippet.”

When I think back to 1998, and the early 2000’s, I realize the web was essentially broken without Google. Even today, we must have Google to make sense of this massive collection of documents. When I think about where we are headed, it seems clear that a long list of links is perhaps outdated and possibly absurd. With Alexa from Amazon Echo and similar tools, speaking aloud as an OS will soon be taking root as normal.

A voice OS isn’t our default. Yet. Looking at small screens has a strong foothold. Smartphones, in the grand scheme of things, are relatively new to society. In many cases, developers are essentially porting a desktop experience to the smaller screen. Others are creating completely new and novel experiences. There’s also a societal learning curve—ever see two people on a date with one of them staring down at their phone? Ouch.

A new kind of search engine should deliver a concise yet complete answer in one try. And because it’s only got one try, the answer must be helpful. I have mere seconds to look at my phone before my wife and boy get frustrated. I really don’t want to be “that guy looking at his phone.” We will forever need web search. However, at Jelly, we think there’s room for another kind of search. Something altogether different, a new approach.

Biz Stone
Co-founder and CEO
Jelly Industries, Inc.