Social search engine Jelly uses your extended networks to answer your questions

Ben Finkel and Biz Stone

Ben Finkel and Biz Stone. Photo: Paige Green.

Jelly, a mobile search engine app which uses your extended social networks to answer your questions, was launched today on the App Store and Google Play.

The new venture, the brainchild of Twitter co-founder Biz Stone and Ben Finkel, allows users to connect to their existing networks and use questions and photos to mine these networks for information, as well as answer the questions asked by other users.

Jelly aims to take advantage of two key characteristics of our social circles — the small world characteristic of networks, and the strength of weak ties.

Small worlds refer to the short distances between everyone in a network — you have probably heard of the concept of everyone being linked by six degrees of separation. However this phrase stems indirectly from an experiment carried out in 1967; and recent studies suggest that everyone on Earth is now linked by just four degrees, largely due to social media and mobile phones.

“Any question on Jelly can be forwarded outside the app — to anyone in the world,” the company said in a statement on its blog earlier today. “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.”

Indeed these weak ties — passing acquaintances and friends of friends — can be a very useful source of new information and ideas, something which might just give Jelly and edge over simply asking a question on Facebook and/or Twitter.