An In-Depth Look at Perplexity AI: The Next Generation Search Engine

Photo of author
Written By Zach Johnson

AI and tech enthusiast with a background in machine learning.

Perplexity AI is an exciting new AI-powered search engine that is aiming to revolutionize how we find and interact with information online. Launched in 2022, Perplexity utilizes advanced natural language processing to provide highly relevant, comprehensive answers to user queries while clearly citing sources.

In this in-depth review, we will explore the key features of Perplexity AI and how it differs from traditional search engines like Google. We’ll also provide tips and examples for getting the most out of this powerful new search tool.

Overview of Perplexity AI

Perplexity AI was created by Anthropic, an AI safety startup based in San Francisco. The goal with Perplexity is to build an AI assistant that is helpful, harmless, and honest.

Some of the key features and capabilities of Perplexity AI include:

  • Conversational interface – Users can ask questions naturally using plain English. There’s no need to use specific keywords or commands.
  • Customizable sources – Results can be pulled from the entire internet, academic papers, Reddit, YouTube, Wikipedia, and more. This allows you to tailor results to your specific needs.
  • Comprehensive, summarized answers – Perplexity provides a summary of the most relevant information from across sources, written in an easy to understand narrative style.
  • Full citations – All facts and data points are cited inline so you can verify the accuracy and origin.
  • Related questions – Perplexity suggests related follow up questions to dive deeper on a topic.
  • Feedback options – Users can provide feedback on the accuracy and relevance of results to improve Perplexity’s algorithms over time.
  • Chrome extension – Easily search via Perplexity from anywhere on the web. Summarize web pages, ask follow up questions, and more.
  • AI Profiles – Create a personal profile to give Perplexity context about you to improve results relevancy.

This combination of an intuitive conversational interface coupled with full transparency into sources makes Perplexity stand out compared to traditional “black box” search engines. The end result is an AI assistant that can have an intelligent dialogue with users to provide thoughtful, supported answers to their questions.

Asking Questions with Perplexity AI

Asking questions with Perplexity AI is designed to be as natural and conversational as possible. There’s no need to use keywords or follow a rigid syntax. You simply type complete questions or commands using plain English.

For example, here are some example queries you could make:

  • What are the best practices for SEO in 2023?
  • How do solar panels work to generate electricity?
  • Can you explain the main themes in Shakespeare’s Hamlet?
  • What are some healthy low-carb breakfast recipes?

Perplexity works best with questions that have objective, fact-based answers. Subjective or opinion-based questions are more difficult for the AI to answer comprehensively.

You can follow up any initial query with additional questions to go more in-depth on a topic. Perplexity will try to continue the “conversation” by answering related questions and citing new sources when appropriate.

Choosing Information Sources

One of the most powerful features in Perplexity is the ability to customize where results are pulled from. Below the search bar you’ll see options for:

  • All – Pulls from the entire internet
  • Academic – Sources from scientific papers and journals
  • Reddit – Discussion threads from Reddit
  • YouTube – Videos and video transcripts
  • Wikipedia – Wikipedia articles
  • WolframAlpha – Computational knowledge engine

Selecting different sources can provide very different types of information on the same topic. For example, Reddit may provide more informal personal experiences while Academic sources will provide peer-reviewed research.

Choosing YouTube may be helpful when you want instructions explained through videos or visuals. Wikipedia can provide a broad general overview.

Consider which sources are most appropriate for your research needs when customizing your Perplexity results.

Reviewing and Verifying Results

Once Perplexity returns results for your query, you’ll notice a few helpful features:

Summary with citations

Perplexity provides a summarized overview of the key information it found from different sources. Importantly, facts and figures are cited inline pointing to the original content.

You’ll see numbered superscripts like:

The keto diet involves eating very low carb (less than 50g per day)^1, high fat, moderate protein meals.^2

You can click the citation numbers to open the source in a new tab. This allows you to instantly verify the accuracy and origin of any piece of information.

Having full transparency into the source of facts gives Perplexity results more credibility compared to other AI generators.

Related Questions

Based on your initial query, Perplexity will suggest follow up questions to explore the topic in more depth.

For example, after asking “What is the keto diet?”, some related questions may be:

  • What are common foods to eat on the keto diet?
  • How does ketosis work to burn fat?
  • What are the pros and cons of the keto diet?

Clicking any related question will trigger a new Perplexity search providing answers from appropriate sources. This makes it easy to have a true back-and-forth conversation with the AI.

Detailed and Concise views

By default you’ll see the Summary view of results. You can toggle between:

  • Detailed – Shows the full text snippets extracted from each source.
  • Concise – Streamlined version with just facts and citations.

The Detailed view provides fuller context from each source. Concise mode is useful when you just want the key facts without additional explanation.

Feedback options

Provide feedback to Perplexity on the accuracy and relevance of results:

  • Click thumbs up 👍🏻 for results you found helpful.
  • Click thumbs down 👎🏻 if results were inaccurate or irrelevant.
  • Click the flag ⛳️ to report incorrect or inappropriate content.

This user feedback is used to refine Perplexity’s algorithms and training over time, improving results for everyone.

Editing queries

Didn’t get the results you expected? You can edit your original query and execute a new search. This allows you to quickly refine and pivot your question without having to start over.

Viewing and filtering sources

Click “View Sources” to see a list of all content Perplexity pulled from to generate results. You can open links to view the original sources.

Additionally, you can remove sources if you find them to be inaccurate or irrelevant. Perplexity will dynamically filter out sources based on your feedback.

Advanced Features

Perplexity AI offers a few advanced features to further customize the experience:

Perplexity Chrome Extension

The Perplexity Chrome extension brings AI power to your general web browsing. Key features include:

  • Web page summarizing – Generate a summary of any article or web page with citations.
  • Highlight & Ask – Highlight text on a webpage and ask Perplexity follow-up questions.
  • Site search – Search within a specific site domain via Perplexity.

Having the assistant accessible from Chrome makes Perplexity that much more useful.

AI Profiles

Create an AI Profile within Perplexity to provide personalized context about yourself. This allows Perplexity to tailor results better to you based on your:

  • Occupation
  • Industry
  • Location
  • Education
  • Areas of expertise
  • Personal interests
  • And more

Seed your profile with relevant background information to improve the relevance of Perplexity’s results.

Perplexity AI Use Cases

Perplexity AI’s unique approach is well suited for a variety of applications:

Academic research

  • Quickly survey existing literature on a research topic across papers, publications, and sources.
  • Dive deeper by scanning papers for specific data, methods, or results with citations.
  • Explore periphery topics and generate novel research questions.

Learning & education

  • Teachers can use Perplexity to generate lesson plans supported by academic sources.
  • Students can leverage Perplexity for research papers and citing credible sources.

Product development

  • Market analysis to identify customer pain points and product opportunities.
  • Competitor research by scanning news, reviews, and discussions.
  • Technical research to evaluate solutions and best practices.

Content development & SEO

  • Topic research for articles, videos, and other content projects.
  • Identify high ranking websites and optimize content.
  • Source ideas for new content topics and formats.

Personal knowledge & decisions

  • Explore both academic consensus and personal anecdotes on health topics.
  • Research purchasing decisions by scanning reviews and discussions.
  • Dive deep into hobbies and interests pulling from niche communities.

The open domain nature of Perplexity along with source transparency and citations makes it versatile for both casual and professional research.

Perplexity AI Pros and Cons

Here is a quick rundown of some of the key advantages and disadvantages of Perplexity AI:


  • Conversational natural language interface
  • Customizable sources for different perspectives
  • Transparent citations allow fact checking
  • Related questions drive deeper research
  • Chrome extension for web integration
  • Continuously improving from user feedback


  • No phone app yet, web browser only
  • Limited capabilities for highly subjective questions
  • Occasional irrelevant or incorrect citations
  • Slow indexing of new content sources
  • No image search yet

While Perplexity has room for improvement, the core experience feels like a big leap forward from traditional search engines. Perplexity accelerates knowledge discovery by leveraging AI to surface insights humans could easily miss combing through sources manually.

Tips for Using Perplexity AI Effectively

Here are some tips to help you become a Perplexity power user:

  • Ask objective questions – Stick to objective, fact-based questions rather than subjective opinions for best results.
  • Iterate and refine – Start broad then ask follow up questions to hone in on specifics.
  • Verify key facts – Always verify critical data points by checking citations.
  • Provide feedback – Give feedback on accuracy and relevance to improve algorithms.
  • Curate sources – Filter out unhelpful sources via “View Sources”.
  • Create an AI Profile – Personalize results by providing background context.
  • Use the Chrome Extension – Install for AI-powered web browsing.
  • Check academic sources – Leverage the academia filter for research.
  • Export results – Use your browser to save Perplexity summaries for future reference.

With practice, you’ll be able to efficiently extract insights from Perplexity AI like an expert researcher.

The Future of Perplexity AI

Perplexity is still relatively young, having launched in 2022. However, the product roadmap suggests some exciting capabilities on the horizon:

  • Multilingual support – Queries and results in languages beyond English.
  • Mobile apps – Native iOS and Android apps for mobile access.
  • Image search – Ability to search and cite image sources.
  • User dashboards – Dashboard to access search history and manage AI Profiles.
  • Enterprise services – Business offerings for proprietary company research.
  • GPT-4 integration – Leverage next-gen AI for more advanced capabilities.

Perplexity’s combination of transparency and advanced natural language processing sets them up well to expand into an AI assistant that can help both average users and businesses.

The Perplexity team also emphasizes responsible AI development. As capabilities advance, there are plans to detect and filter out any potential biases, misinformation, or harmful content.

User feedback will continue playing a vital role in shaping Perplexity’s growth. The more people use and optimize the service, the more valuable it can become over time.


Perplexity AI represents an exciting evolution in search technology. The assistant leverages AI to provide relevant, comprehensive answers to natural language queries.

Full inline citations allow you to deeply research topics while still fact checking and tracing information back to the source. Customizing sources gives you flexibility to get different perspectives.

While not perfect, Perplexity solves many of the pain points and limitations standard search engines have today. The combination of an intelligent conversational interface with total transparency into sources gives Perplexity the potential to fundamentally change how we find and interact with information online.

Whether you’re a student, researcher, business professional, or lifelong learner, incorporating Perplexity into your toolkit can accelerate knowledge discovery and creation.

Try out Perplexity AI yourself at or install the Chrome extension to supercharge your web searches with AI.

Leave a Comment

AI is evolving. Don't get left behind.

AI insights delivered straight to your inbox.

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.