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What if Wiki & ChatGPT have a baby? Perplexed?

What if Wiki & ChatGPT have a baby? Perplexed?

Perplexity, a search engine backed by Jeff Bezos, is gaining popularity as it offers direct answers in summary form. Unlike ChatGPT, Perplexity uses its own AI models,providing more refined and accurate results. Google is cautious about incorporating more AI features due to potential negative impact on revenue and Wall Street’s reaction.

Google has a challenger. Perplexity, a 16-month-old search engine, has got users raving about it and has Jeff Bezos among its investors. Co-founded by IIT-M alumnus Aravind Srinivas and valued at $520 million, Perplexity gives direct answers in summary form.

How is Perplexity different from ChatGPT? What if Google incorporates more AI in its search?

In terms of tech, earlier we used to be just a ‘wrapper’ (a program reliant on and built on other tech such as OpenAI) but over time we have built our own AI models that have given us an edge.

Perplexity answers queries with attribution and that makes our results more refined and accurate than ChatGPT and others. Google will be cautious about rolling out more AI features because their core business model is centered around driving more traffic; an additional AI layer may prevent that. Their revenue will go down and Wall Street will react negatively.

How did you land a marquee list of investors?

Initially, in the seed round of investments, the profile of us founders helped open doors. After that it’s been all about the product – its speed, accuracy and user interface. We are constantly working on improvements. We had 28 re-leases last year. That’s one every fortnight, and that’s very hard.

What are the tool’s sources to summarise results? Will there be copyright issues?

We are working on opensource models and finetuning them to be good at summaris-ing. Our strength is that we attribute everything to a source. As for neutrality, we prioritise domains with high, based on web traffic and track record.

Does the ‘Google killer’ tag help you?

Google has done an amazing job in identifying user intent, and that’s why you get relevant results in your search. The num-ber of people using us is tiny compared to Google’s user base, but we are keeping our heads down and focusing on speed, accuracy and user convenience to get there. Contrary to what people think, people at Google
have been very appreciative of what we do and our product. They did not ban Perplexity for their employees.

Did you always want to be a Silicon Valley founder?

My life has been like any other boy’s. My mom wanted me to get into IIT, and once I did it was all about get-ting good grades. In the process, the network, the internships and the classes gave me a new dimension. I had no plans to be an entrepreneur but was fascinated by AI, and during my PhD at Berkeley, I was bitten by the entrepreneurial bug.

Where do you think India stands in the AI race?

A lot of companies here are doing great stuff in AI. Take IIT-M startup Sarvam. They are building LLMs for Indian regional languages and as they grow, we would love to use them as APIs for Perplexity products for Indian users. India’s knowledge worker pool and size of the market offer a lot of human feedback for AI models.

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