Perplexity, the AI ​​generative search engine taking Google by storm, will soon use ads in an innovative way. Specifically, it plans to implement brand-sponsored queries as suggested follow-up questions for ongoing conversations about AI, according to a report from Ad week on Monday.

When you ask a question in Perplexity, it sometimes suggests additional questions you can ask the AI ​​chatbot. These related questions account for 40% of Perplexity queries, according to AdWeek. Perplexity said it will allow brands to influence these related questions, potentially directing users to specific products. The AI ​​engine will release sponsored query suggestions in the “coming quarters.”

Perplexity did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Perplexity’s move to integrate ads comes at a time when the rest of the generative AI industry is using the “freemium” model. Players like OpenAI's ChatGPT, Microsoft's Copilot, and Anthropic's Claude offer a free version of their AIs, but allow people to use a more advanced version for a monthly cost. Just like these companies, Perplexity also offers a paid version. Running AI chatbots is currently expensive as each query can cost 10 times more than a traditional Google search. Last year, OpenAI was paying $700,000 a day, according to research firm SemiAnalysis. While the cost of generative AI should decrease over time as technologies and systems improve, companies will have to find ways to monetize free consultations to keep things sustainable.

Perplexity calls itself a “response mechanism” and works like a cross between ChatGPT and Google. Its investors include Jeff Bezos and former YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, and it is valued at US$522 million from January. Perplexity is more similar to Microsoft Copilot, integrating AI chat and search links, along with images. Unlike ChatGPT, Perplexity has an open internet connection and connects to sources. It also links to posts from Reddit, a site that is now commonly accessed in Google searches.

Perplexity itself says it's a good idea to double-check the sources of the information you get from your answer engine, and the eventual introduction of advertising will mean another filter users will need to put on answers.



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