MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – According to the Pew Research Center, 85% of Americans own a smartphone and about three-quarters of U.S. adults own a desktop or laptop computer, meaning access to information online is as easy as saying “hello.”
But in this week’s Technically Speaking report, we show you how a new tool could change the way you approach research at home or on the go.
We know not everyone uses their phone or computer the same.
According to data from Google, first reported by TechCrunch in 2022, about 40% of younger users surveyed – 18-to 24-year-olds - actually prefer platforms like TikTok or Instagram for online searches.
Now, one company wants to capitalize on this trend.
“Hello, I’m Andi” reads the opening prompt of the new AI assistant that is hoping to change how everyone searches for information online.
“The problem is that the way that search works today is broken. The web has been taken over by ads and SEO span, and also cognitive overwhelm,” Andi CEO and co-founder Angela Hoover said. “So for Andi, it’s how do we get the web back to the highest quality possible content reaching the users as fast as possible?”
“Andi” stands for artificial neural directed intelligence.
The company is a startup that’s part search engine, and part AI-chatbot, similar to familiar tools like Google and ChatGPT.
Hoover met co-founder Jed White in the Denver airport, of all places. The two discussed the idea of artificial intelligence and virtual personal assistants.
Months later, the two reconnected, and given White’s background in AI and search engine technology, a strong partnership was born.
The company was built in South Florida – North Beach, to be exact - during the pandemic and officially launched in March 2022.
While the company has since moved its headquarters outside of South Florida, Hoover says this area of the Sunshine State was instrumental in helping Andi get off the ground.
“I feel like my heart is still there. It’s an amazing place to build a startup, and there’s a lot of interesting tech and innovation happening in Miami,” Hoover said.
Andi is free for anyone to use at andisearch.com and doesn’t feature any ads or privacy invasions, according to Hoover.
“We want Andi to be friendly and helpful and trustworthy AI,” Hoover said. “We thought with a conversational interface, you can reveal information progressively.”
The other thing that makes Andi different from the rest is a conversational and progressive approach, using generative artificial intelligence and language models to pioneer what the company hopes is the next version of a search engine.
Andi works by typing in a prompt, such as “what are the symptoms of a cold?”
Within seconds, both an answer and a list of search results pop up.
Andi even gives users the ability to read a brief AI-generated summary or explanation from the source without directly visiting the site.
The focus is on simply helping users find what they need without making up information on the fly.
“Andy’s AI is really great at finding the right content,” Hoover said. “What we’re hyper focused on is getting to the heart of the information…finding the search results, being able to discern what is high quality content, what is low quality content. That is our secret sauce -- that is our specialty.”
Hoover says it’s a blend of the old and the new, with users noting that Andi can save them 15 to 20 minutes on search times.
As Andi grows and competes against more established brands like Google, Hoover wants people to know that the future is here and artificial intelligence should be embraced.
“You shouldn’t be afraid of AI. AI is going to disrupt certain parts of our lives, but it will have a net positive impact,” Hoover said. “Be curious, try out a couple of tools and take an open mindset approach…the AI revolution is exciting and it’s positive, and it’s going to change our lives in a really impactful way, I believe.”
Right now, Andi continues to be worked on, upgrading things in regards to shopping and maps or directions as well as implementing new features, such as voice integration and “multi-step factual Q&A.”
Eventually, Hoover says, she would like Andi to partner with content creators, businesses and publications in order to further expand.