How to use Perplexity AI as a research assistant


How to use Perplexity AI as a research assistant

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How to use Perplexity AI as a research assistant

The development team responsible for creating Perplexity did not want to create another another search engine powered by artificial intelligence or a digital assistant; it’s designed to be your AI research assistant. Envisioned to have a conversational interface, contextual awareness, and personalization features, Perplexity aims to redefine how we interact with AI to find information, solve problems, and accomplish tasks.

This guide provides a quick overview into the various aspects that make Perplexity a unique AI tool, from its conversational mechanics to its specialized features like Focus, Copilot, and Quick Search. One of Perplexity’s standout features is its ability to understand questions in natural, everyday language. Unlike traditional search engines where keywords are king, Perplexity uses advanced natural language processing to discern user intent. This ensures that the answers generated are not just relevant but also resonate with the user’s specific needs.

How to use Perplexity AI

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Conversational interface

Perplexity builds a relationship with the user by learning about their interests and preferences over time. Its advanced answer engine takes into account the entire conversation history to provide contextually relevant answers. This mechanism allows for a more dynamic and personalized interaction, making it feel like you’re communicating with a knowledgeable assistant rather than a soulless search algorithm.

To fine-tune its responses, Perplexity may engage the user in a back-and-forth conversation, asking clarifying questions to better understand their needs. This interactive element is not just about collecting more data, but about building a more precise understanding to deliver the most relevant information.

Search Focus

The Focus feature offers users the ability to narrow down the sources from which Perplexity fetches information. By selecting a specific source, users can ensure more targeted and relevant search results. This feature is activated by hitting the Focus button when starting a new thread.

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Writing Mode

Writing mode is a feature designed for users who need to generate and process text or code without internet access. This standalone functionality harnesses the power of AI to assist in various tasks, from coding to document creation, offering a level of versatility that goes beyond simple search capabilities.

Copilot vs Quick Search


Copilot functions as an interactive search assistant that asks you clarifying questions to guide the AI search process. This feature aims to offer a more personalized and precise set of answers by understanding the nuances of your query.

Quick Search

Quick Search is designed for users who prefer speed and conciseness. It quickly scans through the internet and delivers straightforward answers without the interactive elements found in Copilot.

Perplexity AI overview

What is Perplexity Pro?

Perplexity Pro is designed for users who require more from their AI assistant. One of the prominent features is the increased usage limit for services like Copilot, Claude 2, and GPT-4. All three functionalities are capped at around 600 uses per day, offering ample bandwidth for heavy users.

This expanded quota facilitates more in-depth research, more interactive conversations, and the ability to handle a wider variety of tasks within a single day. Adding to the convenience is the multi-device support. With Perplexity Pro, users can access their account on multiple devices simultaneously. Your Pro account is tied to your email, ensuring a seamless experience whether you switch from a laptop to a mobile device.

Another noteworthy feature is the enhanced support system. Pro users gain direct access to the development team through a special Discord channel. This is apart from a dedicated email support channel that promises quicker response times, usually within 8 to 12 hours.

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This premium support ensures that any issues or queries are resolved swiftly, providing a more efficient user experience. Moreover, joining the Pro Discord channel is made simple with an invite link available on the user’s Perplexity AI account. This community access not only provides an avenue for faster support but also allows for interaction with other Pro users, fostering a community of like-minded individuals.

Perplexity Pro users can enable the GPT-4 toggle in the settings to receive enhanced answers. These answers are more comprehensive and offer a deeper level of information, providing a more refined user experience.

File uploads for data analysis

Users can upload files in various formats like plain text, code, or PDF. Perplexity uses the contents of these files to formulate more accurate and context-aware answers. Whether it’s summarizing a lengthy PDF or explaining a chunk of code, the file upload feature adds another layer of utility.

Perplexity is versatile and can be employed in various scenarios:

  • Research: Use Perplexity to sift through academic papers or articles, summarizing key findings.
  • Coding: Upload code files to get explanations or debugging help.
  • Language Translation: Translate files from one language to another.
  • Task Management: Employ Perplexity as a task assistant that helps you manage your daily tasks.

Perplexity is poised to revolutionize the way we interact with AI-powered search and task assistance. With its conversational interface, personalized contextual awareness, and an array of specialized features, it brings a human touch to the realm of digital assistance. Whether you’re a student, a professional, or simply someone who wants to satisfy their curiosity, Perplexity offers a new, interactive way to find the information you need.

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Security, privacy and data collection

Data Collection and Retention Policies

Perplexity collects a range of data to facilitate its operations, including technical information like IP addresses, device types, and browser configurations, as well as personal information such as names and email addresses for account creation. Importantly, this data is stored as long as your account remains active. Perplexity takes a proactive stance on data retention: should you choose to delete your account, all your personal information will be purged from their servers within 30 days. They offer users the ability to request deletion through their support channel, enhancing user control over data.

User Data and Third-Party Sharing

While Perplexity does store search history and utilizes user interactions to improve the platform, it takes a conservative approach to third-party data sharing. The company doesn’t sell, trade, or indiscriminately share personal information. Any sharing that does occur is limited to service providers who perform specific, approved roles, such as payment processing or customer support. Additionally, Perplexity empowers users with the option to opt out of their data being used for AI improvements. This can be done through the AI Data Usage toggle in the account settings, giving users more agency in how their data is used.

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