Why Biz Stone Believes The Future Of Search Is, Well, You

AUSTIN, TEXAS -- Biz Stone returned to the main stage here Monday to give what is proving to be an annual update on his next new thing, or in the case of his next-generation search engine, his next new pivot. Stone, who used last year’s SXSW Interactive festival to pitch human empathy platform Super, used this year’s stage to pitch the relaunch of his human-powered search engine Jelly.

The new version of Jelly, which Stone called an “unpivot” of its initial version, is currently in beta and will be released to the general public soon, he told interviewer and search marketing expert Danny Sullivan. The new incarnation, he said, indexes people, as opposed to Web pages, to give people answers to their queries.

“This sounds a little creepy,” Stone told Sullivan, adding “we’re still figuring out our marketing language,” but conceding that the end game is “we index people.”

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“We basically learn more, more and more about you, and we weight those learnings,” he explained, adding that the secret of Jelly’s power is in its proprietary “routing algorithm,” which enables it to match the queries of some users with the answers given by other users.

Asked during the audience Q&A what differentiates Jelly from human-powered question-and-answer platform Quora, Stone described Quora as “more of a philosophical thing,” whereas Jelly will provide practical knowledge.

“Jelly 2.0 is people you don’t even know,” he said, adding, “we’ve pegged them as people - you have a question about Jeep? They know about Jeeps.”

Asked what the Jelly’s business model is, Stone repeated almost the same identical flippant response he gave last year, when asked what the business model was for Super.

“There will be a business model,” he said, adding: “You have to prove there‘s value first and you have to get a lot of people using the service. There’s no such thing as a service that has hundreds of people using it that doesn’t make money. We’ll figure it out.”

While that if-we-build-it-they-will-come assertion might not hold water with most platform developers, Stone was a co-founder of Twitter, which itself got kickstarted at SXSW when it first launched, so he has some street cred in Austin.

He did allude that Jelly’s revenue model would be based on some form of search advertising, but indicated, “we’ll do something native,” adding “maybe a promoted answer would be a thing.”

He gave an example that a home improvement retailer might pay to promote answers to users who make queries about home improvement needs. If that sounds a little like conventional paid search engine marketing, Stone said it’s not, because of the human-powered aspect of Jelly.

“Everybody’s working on artificial intelligence. How about just intelligence,” he quipped, adding, “there’s 7 billion people in the world. All of them know something.”
1 comment about "Why Biz Stone Believes The Future Of Search Is, Well, You".
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  1. Patrick Giblin from 451 Degrees Inc, March 17, 2016 at 2:38 p.m.

    The real Holy Grail is when Human Intelligence meets Artificial Intelligence...Comments to Content MATTER

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