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Amazon enters Chatbot Fray with new shopping tool| GuyWhoKnowsThings

Amazon entered the consumer chatbot fray on Thursday, announcing a new artificial intelligence-powered personal shopping assistant as the company races to catch up with other tech giants.

Customers can ask product questions to the Rufus tool directly in the search bar of the company's mobile app, Amazon said in a blog post. The AI ​​will then provide answers in a conversational tone. Examples provided in the ad included a comparison of different types of coffee makers, gift recommendations, and a follow-up question about the durability of running shoes.

Rufus will be available starting Thursday for a “small subset of customers,” according to the post, and will roll out to additional customers in the coming weeks. Amazon declined to provide further details on how many people will be part of the initial rollout of the tool.

Amazon has been racing to shake off the perception that it is behind the AI ​​wave unleashed more than a year ago, when startup OpenAI launched its chatbot ChatGPT.

Microsoft and Google last spring launched chatbots and artificial intelligence tools for their search engines, which often highlight shopping-related uses, and startups like Perplexity have tried to redesign the search experience with AI in mind.

In the fall, Amazon launched a corporate chatbot, called Q, for customers of its cloud computing division, and the company said it was working to make its Alexa voice assistant more conversational.

The Amazon search bar and the top results it produces are some of the most important placements in online retail. They have been subject to antitrust inquiriesand product ads in search results are the foundation of the company's thriving advertising business.

The new Rufus tool is “based on Amazon's extensive product catalog, customer reviews, community Q&As, and information from around the web,” the company said.

Amazon allows its employees to bring their dogs to work and a dog named Rufus He was one of the first to tour its offices at the beginning of the company.

The company is scheduled to release its fourth-quarter financial results on Thursday.

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