Perplexity AI: Everything Anyone Needs to Know. Dispelling confusion & bringing clarity. What is Perplexity AI?

By Hammad Syed in Generative AI

April 23, 2024 9 min read
Perplexity AI: Everything Anyone Needs to Know.

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Perplexity AI is quickly becoming a buzzword in the realms of artificial intelligence and tech startups. With a fresh approach to search engines and a slew of AI-powered tools, this startup is turning heads from Silicon Valley to Wall Street.

Let’s get to know everything about Perplexity AI, in byte-sized chunks.

What is Perplexity AI?

Perplexity AI is a startup focused on developing an AI-powered search engine that leverages the potential of large language models (LLMs) like OpenAI’s GPT-4. The company is committed to enhancing how we interact with information, aiming to transform search queries into more conversational and dynamic interactions.

At its core, Perplexity is a text and voice-based chatbot, or search engine with a very simple motto; Ask us anything. You can type in your queries or speak to Perplexity to ask it anything.

The founding story

Founded by Aravind Srinivas, Denis Yarats, Andy Konwinski, and Johnny Ho, Perplexity AI has gathered attention for its innovative approach and impressive backing. The startup emerged from the idea that search engines could be more intuitive and interactive, moving beyond traditional keyword-based queries to a more conversational model facilitated by the latest advancements in AI and natural language processing.

Leveraging the power of large language models like OpenAI’s GPT-4, Perplexity AI set out to create a user-friendly, AI-powered search engine that not only answers questions but understands the context and nuances of user inquiries.

This innovative approach has attracted significant attention and funding, positioning Perplexity AI as a notable player in the tech industry with a promising future in reshaping online search experiences. If you’re excited about Perplexity, you can check out their job openings and be a part of its journey.

Perplexity funding

The startup has successfully completed multiple funding rounds, with investments pouring in from industry heavyweights like Jeff Bezos and prominent venture capital firms.

This influx of capital underscores the market’s confidence in Perplexity AI’s approach and its potential to reshape the AI landscape. Perplexity has also attracted interest from other major players like Microsoft and Nvidia.

Most recently, Srinivas announced on Twitter that Perplexity raised a whopping $62.7M at $1.04B valuation. This round was led by Daniel Gross, along with Stan Druckenmiller, NVIDIA, Jeff Bezos, Tobi Lutke, Garry Tan, Andrej Karpathy, Dylan Field, Elad Gil, Nat Friedman, IVP, NEA, Jakob Uszkoreit, Naval Ravikant, Brad Gerstner, and Lip-Bu Tan.

That tweet contains the names of almost all the who’s-who of the AI and investment world.

How does Perplexity AI work?

Perplexity AI uses generative AI to deliver search results in a natural language format. This means that instead of sifting through links and summaries like traditional search engines (e.g., Google Search), users receive direct, conversational answers. This functionality is not just about answering questions but understanding the context and providing follow-up queries to enhance the user’s search experience.

Getting started with Perplexity AI
Getting started with Perplexity AI

How to get started with Perplexity AI

First, here’s how you can access Perplexity.

  1. Laptops & desktops: Access and that’s it. You can immediately begin typing in your queries.
  2. Mobile devices: You can download the app from the App Store or Google Play
  3. Extensions: Additionally you can also make Perplexity AI your default search on Google Chrome or you can also download the extension.

Here’s how you can use Perplexity AI

Since you can access Perplexity in more ways than one, we’ll cover the desktop version as it is accessible to anyone with a browser and you do not have to install an app to follow along.

  1. Go to
  2. Ask it anything: Type in your question in the chat box right in the middle of the screen
  3. Search or Advanced Search: You can then press the green button or fine tune before you search
  4. Focus: You can tell Perplexity to search everything or only research papers or other specific sources. This helps get answers from sources you think are most reputable, for the question you have.
  5. Attach: Additionally you can also attach a document for reference or have Perplexity search within your document.

When you search, Perplexity lists its sources out at the top of its answer so you can validate it. It is overall a great research tool. Think of it as if WikiPedia came alive and you could talk to it.

What’s in the Perplexity Pro plan?

While the free version is good enough for most people, the pro version offers the following features:

  1. Improved Security: Receive notifications to maintain control over your files.
  2. Team Member Administration: Simplify the process of adding or removing team members.
  3. SOC2 Certified: Achieve peace of mind with top-tier security standards.
  4. Data Privacy: Your queries remain confidential and are purged after seven days.
  5. Single Sign-On (SSO): Gain fast and secure entry to your company’s systems.
  6. Enhanced Data Privacy: We ensure that our LLMs are not trained on data from our enterprise clients.

While the free plan offers basic search functionality, the $20/month Perplexity Pro subscription provides advanced AI integration, increased usage limits, and additional features tailored for power users and professionals.

Perplexity’s products & features

Perplexity Pro

A premium version tailored for professionals seeking advanced AI tools to streamline their workflow. This service integrates seamlessly into environments like Chrome and iOS, ensuring that users have robust AI capabilities at their fingertips.

Claude and Claude 3

Named after Claude Shannon, a pioneer in information theory, Claude is the cornerstone of Perplexity AI’s offerings. The most recent iteration, Claude 3, pushes the envelope further in terms of processing natural language, handling complex queries with unprecedented accuracy.

AI Chatbot and Copilot Features

Beyond search, Perplexity AI offers an AI chatbot capable of conducting sophisticated conversations and performing tasks across various platforms, including social media and podcast production tools. The copilot feature assists users in navigating the expansive digital space, enhancing both personal and professional interactions.

Partnerships and collaborations

Perplexity AI doesn’t operate in a vacuum. It has forged strategic partnerships with tech giants like Apple and Meta, as well as with AI-focused companies like Anthropic, which develops Claude. These collaborations ensure that Perplexity stays at the cutting edge of AI technology.

Use Cases: Search and discovery with AI

From everyday web searches in English to complex corporate needs in multiple languages, Perplexity AI adapts to a wide array of use cases. It is particularly useful in academic settings, where the ability to ask complex follow-up questions can aid in research. In the professional realm, its integration into Android and iOS devices makes it a handy tool for on-the-go inquiries.

Staying Informed with Perplexity AI

With a growing presence on platforms like the Wall Street Journal and various tech-focused podcasts, Perplexity AI is not just a tool but a topic of crucial conversations in AI. Its developments are often covered in tech news segments, providing insights into the evolving AI tools and models that shape our digital experiences.

Google vs Perplexity. What are the differences?

Perplexity AI sets itself apart from Google by its fundamental approach to search functionality. While Google’s search engine relies on keyword-based queries and returns a list of links and snippets for users to explore, Perplexity AI uses advanced artificial intelligence, specifically generative AI models like GPT-4, to understand and respond to queries in a conversational manner.

This AI-driven method allows Perplexity to provide direct, full-sentence answers and follow-up questions, creating a more interactive and intuitive search experience. Additionally, Perplexity AI focuses on leveraging the capabilities of large language models to comprehend the context and deeper meanings behind user queries, aiming to enhance the relevance and precision of the information provided.

Now most are familiar with Google’s Generative AI search that the’ve been testing for a while now. Let’s not rule the heavyweight out, just yet.

Perplexity vs ChatGPT? Are there any differences?

Yes. Anyone who’s used ChatGPT can testify to it coming up short because it’s knowledge hasnt progressed beyond 2022. It doesn’t browse the web, and its glitches and outright makes up answers. Sometimes these answers are very compelling and we assume, would even pass a lie detector test.

Though Perplexity and ChatGPT are rooted in OpenAI, that’s where the similarity ends. Perplexity AI provides direct responses to queries in natural language and focuses on a more interactive, context-aware search experience that allows for follow-up questions, making it more dynamic compared to ChatGPT’s more static knowledge base.

Perplexity is closer to an AI agent where it can browse the internet, read articles and provide quick research and answers. Think of ChatGPT as a chatbot well as Perplexity as more of a conversational AI.

What lies ahead for Perplexity

As Perplexity AI continues to grow, its potential to become a staple in AI-driven search engines seems increasingly likely. With its headquarters in San Francisco and a vision that reaches globally—from the United States to China—the company is on a promising trajectory. Whether for personal use or corporate solutions, Perplexity AI is setting a new standard for how we interact with information in the digital age.

Is Perplexity AI better than ChatGPT?

Perplexity AI and ChatGPT serve different purposes: Perplexity AI, powered by large language models like GPT-4 and Claude 3, focuses on providing an AI-powered search engine that delivers responses in natural language, making it ideal for complex query handling and follow-up questions. ChatGPT, developed by OpenAI, excels as an AI chatbot known for generating detailed text and engaging in conversational AI interactions.

What does Perplexity AI do?

Perplexity AI is a startup leveraging artificial intelligence to create a search engine that offers conversational responses to queries. Using generative AI technologies like Claude, it aims to enhance user interaction by providing answers directly in natural language, allowing for seamless follow-up questions and a more intuitive search experience.

Does Perplexity AI use GPT?

Yes, Perplexity AI utilizes versions of OpenAI’s GPT, specifically GPT-4, to power its search engine. This integration allows Perplexity to handle a broad range of queries with high accuracy, benefiting from the advanced capabilities of large language models.

Is Perplexity owned by OpenAI?

No, Perplexity AI is an independent AI startup and not owned by OpenAI. It was founded by Aravind Srinivas and operates with its own team and funding, although it does use OpenAI’s technology such as GPT-4 for its search engine functionalities.

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Hammad Syed

Hammad Syed

Hammad Syed holds a Bachelor of Engineering - BE, Electrical, Electronics and Communications and is one of the leading voices in the AI voice revolution. He is the co-founder and CEO of PlayHT, now known as PlayAI.

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