What Is Perplexity AI? The $1 Billion Google Search Competitor – Tech.co

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Despite new artificial intelligence platforms flooding app stores every week, one app has succeded in capturing the attention of the public – as well as investors from huge tech companies like Amazon and Nvidia – due to its unique take on conversational AI.


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Perplexity AI is an AI-powered search engine that strives to make knowledge as accessible as possible. Sitting somewhere in between AI chatbots and traditional search engines, Perplexity AI responds to user-based queries with succinct, relevant answers, offering more citations and image responses than tools like ChatGPT, and reducing the need to wade through links like you do with Google.

Despite the platform being around since 2022, the AI search engine has been hitting the headlines recently due to its $1 billion evaluation. So for those interested in Perplexity AI’s origin story and use cases, this guide covers everything you need to know about the the search engine-meets-chatbot.

What Is Perplexity AI?

Perplexity AI is an AI-powered conversational search engine that produces concise answers to user-generated queries. The technology utilizes LLMs like GPT-4, Claude, Mistral Large, and its own custom models for natural language processing, and searches the web in real-time to provide users with up-to-date answers.

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Perplexity AI is quite literally the lovechild of Google Search and ChatGPT. The app was founded in 2022 by former Google and Open AI employees, who were frustrated by the wasted potential of the LLMs they were developing. The team wanted to make the information these models contain more accessible to the public, helping to “democratize access to knowledge”  as a result.

The team chose the name Perplexity because they want the platform to help users gain accurate and informative answers to questions, even if they’re complex or challenging. Since its launch, the Silicon Valley-based app has evolved significantly and can currently be used for far more than just answering queries. Read on to learn how Perplexity AI can be used to make your life easier.

What Can I Do With Perplexity AI?

Perplexity AI’s focus on precision and depth makes it capable of carrying out a wide variety of tasks. Here are a few common use cases of the platform.

  • Access concise information – Perplexity provides users with much more targeted information than search engines, reducing the need to trawl through search results, and making it easier for them to resolve simple queries, faster.
  • Carry out in-depth research – Unlike chatbot-generated content, Perplexity AI includes links to sources, making it a more useful and reliable research companion.
  • Create and edit code – Perplexity is also capable of generating code snippets and providing coding assistance, making it a useful asset to software engineers and developers.
  • Solve maths problems – The search engine can also be used to solve maths problems. However, it isn’t as capable of solving complex problems as chatbots like ChatGPT.
  • Summarize PDFs – Users can use Perplexity AI to summarize long or complex PFD documents. You’re also able to enter follow-up prompts to quiz the search engine about this content.
  • Translate files – Users can also use the tool to translate languages, both orally via audio files or in written form via plain text or documents like PDFs.
  • Organize your library – After you’ve amassed a couple of Threads with Perplexity, you’re able to organize these conversations by project or topic and even invite contributors to chime in.

Perplexity AI answers user-generated queries in a succinct manor, including sources and images alongside text. Source: Tech.co

Is It Worth Paying For Perplexity AI?

Perplexity AI is free to use. However, lots of its advanced features are only accessible if you pay $20 per month, or $200 per year for Perplexity Pro.

If you’re interested in using Perplexity to answer simple inquiries and to conduct desk-based research, its free plan will be more than capable of meeting your needs. It runs on Perplexity’s in-house LLM, Perplexity AI, and gives you five Pro Searches a day which is great if you want to take the occasional deep dive.

The free doesn’t include support from different LLMs, text-to-image options, API access, or file upload options, however. So, if you’re looking to translate or summarise files, experiment with different language models, or generate or modify images, it’ll be worth upgrading to its paid version. Take a look at how Perplexity AI’s plans compare side-by-side below.

Free plan

  • Unlimited Quick searches
  • 5 Pro Searches each day
  • Perplexity AI LLM
  • Profile creation
  • Personalized answers feature

Premium plan

  • 600 Pro searches per day
  • GPT-4, Claude-3, Sonar, and more GPT options
  • Filed upload options
  • Text-to-image support with Playground AI, DALL-E, and more
  • $5 per month in API credits

How Does Perplexity AI Compare to ChatGPT?

With Perplexity AI’s founding team including a former OpenAI employee, and the platform’s conversational, prompt-led interface taking clear inspiration from the inaugural chatbot ChatGPT, it’s no surprise comparisons are often drawn between the two tools. However, while the AI platforms share a variety of core capabilities and a similar pricing structure, they excel in very different areas.

Firstly, Perplexity works more like a traditional search engine than a chatbot, and is able to retrieve information from the web in real-time. ChatGPT offers this functionality too, but only to paid users, making Perplexity the platform of choice for users who want to gain a succinct understanding of emerging topics for free.

Perplexity provides more detail than ChatGPT too, and includes citations for all its sources. This makes the AI tool more suitable for academic researchers, and those working in research-heavy professions like data science and marketing.

ChatGPT does have its perks, though. The chatbot is generally more of a jack-of-all-trades than Perplexity. Its content writing, mathematics, and coding capabilities are superior thanks to its enhanced data processing power, and its cleaner user experience will make it the better option for a wider selection of users.

ChatGPT also has a much more conversational tone than Perplexity, and its enhanced natural language processing power makes it better at answering complex, open-ended queries. This makes the chatbot better at creative tasks like content creation and ideation. and more attractive to users who prefer a more interactive dialog.

ChatGPT may still be the most well-known chatbot on the market, but there are tons of worthy competitors that are still worth checking out. Read our guide to the best ChatGPT alternatives to find out how OpenAI’s tool compares to the competition.

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