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If you’ve always wanted an answer to an eternal question (like “Are we alone in the universe?”), there’s finally an app capable of providing the answer – although you may want to stick with more basic queries for now unless you have a sense of humor. Jelly is the brainchild of Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, offering a method for iPhone (and Android) users to snap a picture of something, type in a related question, and post for others to see and answer.
Questions appear on cards that can be swiped off the screen, with options for contributing an answer or forwarding to others who can help via SMS, email, or clipboard. Images can be annotated prior to posting questions or answers, with options to crop, zoom, or reframe photos without leaving Jelly. Refreshingly, there are no image filters — at least not yet. If another user thinks your answer is correct or helpful, they can send you a Thank You Card, Jelly’s equivalent to the Facebook "Like."
Jelly requires login through Facebook and/or Twitter, but thankfully doesn’t post anything to either service without your explicit permission. Unfortunately, the only method for answering questions is through the app, which somewhat limits how useful the service can be at this early stage. We posted a couple of mundane questions seeking opinions on a recent Blu-ray purchase and inquiring why this reviewer’s kid didn’t want to eat his pizza, and within minutes received several push notifications with answers. The replies ranged from helpful to the typically snarky retort you might get from any social network. (Everyone’s a comedian!)
While posing questions is kind of fun, most everything else about Jelly is an exercise in frustration. There’s no way to search or sort questions, and once you’ve tossed cards aside with a swipe, you can’t get them back again. Unless you have time and patience, truly inquisitive types are better off with Quora or even Twitter for now.
The bottom line. Jelly is a novel idea, and posting queries online doesn’t get much easier than this, but shoveling through a stack of questions can be maddening after a while.
iPhone or iPod touch running iOS 6.1 or later
Instant feedback for even mundane questions. In-app annotation and basic editing for photos. Questions can be forwarded to those outside of Jelly. Free advice!
Questions can only be answered from the app. No way to search or sort questions. Ignored questions can’t be called up again. Requires Facebook or Twitter login.