Internet Services

In quest for sweet search combo, Pinterest buys Jelly

The scrapbooking site acquires the search app co-founded by Twitter's Biz Stone.

Jelly plus Pinterest equals tasty search? We'll find out.

Pinterest

Jelly and pushpins? Doesn't sound quite as lip-smackin' as a PB&J. But you never know.

Digital-scrapbooking tool Pinterest said Wednesday that it's acquired Jelly -- the search site co-created by Twitter co-founder Biz Stone -- to "accelerate our efforts in building the world's first visual discovery engine."

Since its relaunch, Jelly has been a little like Q&A site Quora, with a bit of technical whizbangery thrown into the mix. You ask a question; then Jelly uses an algorithm to route your query to people it thinks can give you a useful answer.

Originally, though, Jelly was more like Quora with a dash of Snapchat. You could take a picture of something, then use Jelly to ask your Twitter and Facebook friends about it.

That's not too far removed from Pinterest's "Lens" feature, unveiled last month, which lets you point your phone's camera at a kiwi, say, to get appropriate recipes, or at an Eames lounge chair to find matching room accessories (George Nelson clock, anyone?).

In an emailed statement, Pinterest said the Jelly team's approach is closely aligned with the scrapbooking site's own vision, and it called Stone and Jelly co-founder Ben Finkel "experts in parsing images and building networks from both a product and computer science perspective."

In his own remarks, Stone agreed about the like-mindedness. "The more we talked, the more we realized we had the same interest in re-imagining search," he said. "We were finishing each other's sentences."

Hmm, they make it sound like thumbtacks and jam might go down more easily than you'd expect.

With the acquisition, Stone will become a special advisor to Pinterest CEO Evan Sharp, and Finkel will join Pinterest's growth product team.

Pinterest hasn't yet decided if it will shut down Jelly or let it continue as an independent app.