Bezos Supports Tech Startup Whose Goal it Is to Take Down Google

By: Georgia | Published: Jan 12, 2024

The New York Post has reported that Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, has recently invested in an AI-powered startup named Perplexity, now valued at $520 million. This investment signifies a significant move in the tech industry, with Perplexity aiming to rival Google’s dominance in web search.

The startup uses artificial intelligence to revolutionize how people search for information online, marking a potential shift in the future of internet search technology.

A New Type of Search Engine

Perplexity, a San Francisco-based company with a team of less than 40, is developing what they describe as an “answer engine.”

Close-up of a person's hands typing on a laptop keyboard, with a blurred screen in the background

Source: Glenn Carstens-Peters/Unsplash

This tool, according to The Wall Street Journal, allows users to ask questions and receive direct answers, a departure from the traditional link-based results that current search engines provide.


Direct Answers Over Web Links

According to The New York Post, Perplexity’s search engine operates in a chatbot style, utilizing OpenAI’s GPT technology. Unlike traditional search engines that present users with a list of website links, Perplexity aims to provide direct text responses using information from online sources.

A laptop screen displaying the ChatGPT website with a title that reads 'ChatGPT: Optimizing Language Models for Dialogue.' The website's background is green with a section of magenta and lime green diagonal stripes to the right

Source: Emiliano Vittoriosi/Unsplash

The CEO of Perplexity, Aravind Srinivas, told The Wall Street Journal, “If you can directly answer somebody’s question, nobody needs those 10 blue links.”

Enhanced Search With GPT-4 Technology

Perplexity offers a more advanced version of its search engine, which incorporates OpenAI’s latest GPT-4 technology, says the New York Post.

A smartphone held in front of a blurred background displaying the words 'Introducing ChatGPT Plus'. The phone's screen shows the ChatGPT interface with example prompts and a 'New chat' button

Source: Mojahid Mottakin/Unsplash

Available for a monthly subscription of $20, this enhanced version promises users a more sophisticated and accurate search experience.

Significant Funding Attracts Attention

In its latest funding round, Perplexity raised $73.6 million, including investments from tech executives, venture capitalists, and notable figures such as Jeff Bezos.

Jeff Bezos standing at a podium, gesturing with one hand, with a lush green wall of plants in the background

Source: Wikimedia Commons

The startup revealed this information in a blog post. This funding is a testament to the growing interest and belief in the potential of AI in revolutionizing the web search industry.

Bezos' Expanding Focus on AI

Jeff Bezos’ investment in Perplexity aligns with his broader commitment to AI technology.

A close-up view of a smartphone laid on a surface, displaying the Amazon logo on its screen

Source: Christian Wiediger/Unsplash

The Guardian reports that Amazon has invested billions in AI initiatives, including a $4 billion commitment to the AI startup Anthropic.


CEO Aravind Srinivas: From Google Intern to Startup Leader

Aravind Srinivas, CEO of Perplexity, has a notable background in tech. He started as a research intern at Google and later worked as a research scientist at OpenAI. He co-founded Perplexity in August 2022, as per his LinkedIn profile.

The Google company logo displayed in its distinctive colorful letters on the side of a modern building exterior

Source: Alex Dudar/Unsplash

His journey reflects the dynamic nature of the tech industry and its continuous evolution.


Rapid Growth and User Acquisition

Since its launch, Perplexity has experienced significant growth in its user base. The company’s website and mobile app are used by 10 million people monthly, with 53 million visits recorded in November alone, a substantial increase from 2.2 million at its launch in December 2022.

A person wearing a chunky red sweater is typing on a silver laptop. Only the person's hands and arms are visible, with the focus on the hands and the keyboard

Source: Ilyuza Mingazova/Unsplash

These figures, reported by The Wall Street Journal using data from Similarweb, demonstrate the startup’s rapid expansion.


Google Executives Invest in Perplexity

Interestingly, some of Google’s executives, including former YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki and Jeff Dean, a senior vice president focusing on AI research, have made personal investments in Perplexity.

The entrance to a Google office building, featuring the Google logo in white letters on a clear glass facade. The entrance is framed by green trees

Source: Jonny Gios/Unsplash

This information was disclosed in a company blog post, highlighting the cross-industry interest in Perplexity’s innovative approach to search technology.


Perplexity's Challenge to Google's Dominance

Despite its promising start, Perplexity faces a significant challenge in competing with Google, whose parent company, Alphabet, has a market cap of $1.74 trillion.

A person holding a smartphone with the Google search homepage displayed on the screen. The screen shows the Google logo and search bar

Source: Solen Feyissa/Unsplash

Alphabet’s extensive resources, global workforce, and ability to cater to queries in over 133 languages set a high bar for new entrants like Perplexity, according to The Wall Street Journal.


The Future of Perplexity: Potential IPO?

According to the New York Post, Perplexity is currently not listed on any stock exchange, and there has been no clear indication of an initial public offering (IPO) in the near future.

An overhead view of a busy wooden desk featuring several laptops, smartphones, notebooks, a teapot with cups, and various other work-related items

Source: Marvin Meyer/Unsplash

However, the startup’s rapid growth and substantial investment indicate a strong market interest, suggesting potential future developments in its business trajectory.


Perplexity's Place in the Evolving Tech Landscape

Perplexity’s emergence and growth reflect the evolving landscape of technology, particularly in the field of AI and web search.

A robotic hand reaching out towards a virtual network of connected points, symbolizing artificial intelligence and machine learning

Source: Tara Winstead/Pexels

With substantial investments, notable backers, and an innovative approach to information retrieval, Perplexity stands as a significant player in the ongoing transformation of the tech industry.