Twitter co-founder puts social twist on search with new mobile service

SAN FRANCISCO Wed Jan 8, 2014 1:14am IST

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SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - One of the creators of Twitter Inc (TWTR.N) unveiled a new mobile service called Jelly on Tuesday, hoping for another hit product in what has become an increasingly crowded field of social and mobile products.

The Jelly smartphone app seeks to improve the way people search for and find information, by querying people instead of Internet search engines.

"Everyone is mobile, everyone is connected. So if you have a question, there's somebody out there that knows the answer," said Biz Stone, the CEO and co-founder of Jelly in a video on the company's website. Stone was among the team that in 2006 created Twitter, the social network and microblogging service that had a blockbuster initial public offering in November.

Shares of Twitter, which has more than 230 million monthly users but has yet to earn a profit, have surged about 145 percent from their offering price.

Stone left Twitter in June 2011. Among the backers of the new company are Twitter co-founders Jack Dorsey and Evan Williams, venture capital investor Reid Hoffman, as well as U2 frontman Bono and former Vice President of the United States Al Gore.

The new service, which is available free for devices based on Apple's iOS and Google Inc's (GOOG.O) Android operating systems, lets users submit questions to the network of friends that they have on social services such as Twitter or Facebook Inc (FB.O). Users can send a text query or circle something in a photo they've taken to ask for help identifying the object or for more information about it.

Jelly became available for download on Tuesday.

A number of other services including Quora, founded by former Facebook employees, and Yahoo Inc's (YHOO.O) Answers also let users query people for more information. Many people also use Facebook to get recommendations and questions answered by their friends. (Reporting by Alexei Oreskovic; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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