Perplexity AI is a new AI-powered search engine that aims to provide direct answers to user queries. It searches the web in real-time, summarizes the most relevant information, and delivers concise answers. A key feature is that Perplexity AI cites the sources used to generate each answer, allowing users to verify credibility.
In this guide, we will talk you through how to use this powerful tool and discuss how it compares to ChatGPT. Whether you’re looking to improve research efficiency or just get quick facts, understanding this new AI tool can help you determine if it’s right for your needs.
Let’s dive in!
What is Perplexity AI?
Perplexity AI is an AI-powered search engine that utilizes natural language processing and machine learning to provide direct answers to user queries. It searches the web in real-time to deliver up-to-date information on a wide range of topics.
One of the key features of Perplexity AI is Copilot, an interactive AI search companion powered by OpenAI’s GPT-4 model. Copilot aims to enhance the search experience by asking clarifying questions, running multiple searches, and summarizing the results. This interactive element helps provide more accurate, tailored responses to users.
Some other notable features of Perplexity AI include:
- Context-aware responses: Understands conversation context for more personalized answers
- Cited sources: Displays sources used so users can verify information credibility
- Real-time searching: Scours the web to deliver current information
- Conversational interface: Allows users to query the AI through an intuitive chatbot-style format
In summary, Perplexity AI is an AI search engine focused on providing direct, up-to-date answers to queries through features like real-time searching and interactive elements like Copilot. It aims to give users reliable information quickly and easily.
How to Use Perplexity AI
One of the most common ways to use Perplexity AI is via your computer’s web browser. Here’s how you can use Perplexity AI from their official website for free:
- Visit Perplexity AI using your desired web browser. You may come across a CloudFlare bot verification page before proceeding to the main site.
- To have limited access to its premium features, you must sign up by clicking the Sign Up button on the left dashboard and choosing your desired sign-in option. If you already have an account, proceed by selecting Login.
- Once signed in, you can begin typing your question on the Ask anything… field and click the blue forward arrow to continue. You can also customize the sources for your query by selecting a category on the Focus menu.
Tip: You can subscribe to Perplexity AI’s annual plan for more Copilot uses for free since it has a 7-day free trial. If you find it impractical, you can opt out during the trial period to avoid subscription costs.
- Check the answer to your query. You can review its accuracy by checking its citations, visiting the sites under the Quick Search section, or clicking the View Sources [ ] button at the bottom.
- Once verified, you can copy your answer by clicking the Copy To Clipboard button at the bottom.
- You can select related queries under the Related section to know more about the current topic or type a follow-up question in the Ask follow-up… field. Click the blue up arrow icon to search for it.
- To share your answer, click the Share button on the top-right corner to choose your desired platform.
- If you find your answer inaccurate, select Not Accurate (flag button) beside the View Sources icon at the bottom of the answer.
- To start a new search or thread, select New Thread on the left pane or press Command + M (Mac) or CTRL + M (Windows) on your keyboard.
- To find your recent search history, click the My Threads button on the left dashboard.
Overall, Perplexity AI is an easy-to-use AI search tool for newbies and advanced users. It mainly uses GPT-3.5 on its basic version and cites sources in all responses. To get more personalized answers from the AI model, you can complete your AI Profile.
If you want access to Perplexity AI’s Copilot search companion, use GPT-4 for all your queries, and free access to future capabilities, you can opt for their Pro version. It costs $20 per month and $200 per year (comes with a 7-day free trial).
As previously mentioned, Copilot is an interactive AI search companion powered by GPT-4 that aims to enhance the user experience. It asks clarifying questions, runs multiple searches, and summarizes results to provide accurate, tailored responses to queries. The interactive nature of Copilot helps guide users through the search process.
Let’s look at an example. Without Copilot enabled, when you ask Perplexity “What is the single best way to lose weight”, it will do a quick search from 6 sources and answer the question like this “this is no single best way to lose weight” and provide some explanation.
When you enable Copilot and ask the same question, it will first prompt you to select why way you’d like to know more about. You can also skip question.
If you select “Aerobic exercise”, it will give you a more direct answer that is related to aerobic exercise.
When you skip the prompt, it also does a more thorough search on the internet (31 sources vs. 6 before) and provides a more detailed answer.
Perplexity AI: Pros and Cons
Pros of Perplexity AI
Cons of Perplexity AI
In short, Perplexity AI provides accurate, current information through an accessible search platform but has some restrictions around conversation and complex problem-solving.
Perplexity AI vs. ChatGPT
Below, we’ll compare perplexity AI with ChatGPT, the popular chatbot from OpenAI.
Functionality and Answer Quality
Directly comparing responses from Perplexity AI and ChatGPT can be considered futile since they are, in nature, tools that serve different purposes.
Perplexity AI is an AI search engine that focuses on search accuracy. It provides real-time, up-to-date results and cites sources to verify the information. Perplexity AI also utilizes Copilot’s interactive searching powered by GPT-4.
On the other hand, ChatGPT is a chatbot that specializes in natural conversation. It shines at long-form discussions, content creation, and code generation with human-like responses.
As a search engine, Perplexity always accesses the latest information from the internet. It has a narrow and focused function as a search engine.
ChatGPT, by default, cannot access the internet, and its knowledge cutoff date is September 2021. However, the Plus version supports various plugins that expand ChatGPT’s capabilities, including accessing the internet. The plugins also enable ChatGPT to accomplish various other complex tasks, such as booking hotels.
Both tools generally have great response speed.
Compared to ChatGPT, Perplexity AI is slower since it first needs to search data all over the web in real time. ChatGPT excels more in giving responses stored on its pre-existing, trained data. However, when accessing the internet through a plugin, ChatGPT can be as slow as Perplexity, if not slower.
Perplexity AI’s Pro version costs $20/month or $200/year, with access to GPT-4 to all questions and an adequate number of searches using its AI companion, Copilot. You’ll also be a member of a private Discord server for customer support and information on future updates.
On the other hand, ChatGPT Plus charges $20/month for various advanced features. Besides having faster response speeds, the paid version gives you priority access, even during peak traffic. You’ll also be among the first few to access future improvements.
Final Thoughts on Perplexity AI
Perplexity AI is an innovative new AI search tool that makes finding facts and information easier. By searching the web in real-time, Perplexity AI excels at delivering reliable, up-to-date answers. Features like cited sources and the interactive Copilot search companion make finding and verifying information efficient.
While Perplexity AI’s conversational abilities are less refined than dedicated chatbots, its capabilities as a dynamic search tool are unmatched. For those seeking quick access to credible data, Perplexity AI provides a powerful solution. Although still relatively new, this AI-driven search platform shows immense promise in evolving how we find and consume information online.
What is Perplexity AI?
Perplexity AI is an AI-powered search engine designed to provide direct answers to user queries. It uses real-time web searching to deliver the most relevant and up-to-date information.
How does Perplexity AI differ from other search engines?
Perplexity AI is unique in its ability to cite sources for each answer, ensuring users can verify the credibility of the information. It also features Copilot, an interactive AI search companion powered by OpenAI’s GPT-4 model, which enhances the search experience.
What are the key features of Perplexity AI?
Some of the standout features include context-aware responses, real-time searching, a conversational interface, and the ability to display cited sources for verification.
Is Perplexity free to use?
Yes, you can access Perplexity AI for free from their website. Perplexity AI also offers a Pro version at $20 per month or $200 per year. This version provides access to the GPT-4 model for all queries and other premium features.
How does Perplexity AI’s Copilot feature work?
Copilot is an interactive AI search companion that enhances the user experience by asking clarifying questions, running multiple searches, and summarizing results. It’s designed to provide more accurate and tailored responses to user queries.
How does Perplexity AI compare to ChatGPT?
While both are AI-driven tools, Perplexity AI is primarily a search engine that focuses on accuracy and real-time information retrieval. In contrast, ChatGPT is a chatbot designed for natural conversation, content creation, and code generation.
What are the limitations of Perplexity AI?
While Perplexity AI is a powerful search tool, its conversational abilities might not be as refined as dedicated chatbots like ChatGPT Plus. It may also have limitations in solving complex problems outside of search functions.
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Will Zhao is a seasoned technology expert and entrepreneur and has spent over a decade working at leading tech companies like Facebook and Airbnb. His expertise spans various domains in the tech industry, including product development and growth, machine learning / AI, and cloud infrastructure. Inspired by his passion for empowering individuals and businesses, Will founded SoftGist to provide expert insights that help people navigate the complexities of technology and succeed in the tech and business world. Will holds a Master of Information Technology from Carnegie Mellon University.