Meet Rufus — Amazon's new AI assistant designed to help you shop

Rufus is a shopping bot
(Image credit: Amazon)

Amazon is gradually rolling out a new artificial intelligence assistant called Rufus, trained on its product catalog and information about those products from the web. 

Rufus, named for the company’s Corgi dog mascot, has been designed to help answer product questions and make recommendations for shoppers.

Only available in the U.S. for now, a few customers will get access through the Amazon app during the beta test stage before it rolls out more widely in the coming weeks.

How does Rufus work?

Users given access to Rufus will be able to access the chatbot by launching the Amazon mobile app and asking a questions in the search bar. 

When you start your query it will open Rufus at the bottom of the screen and to see what the chatbot has to say just click to expand it.

The chatbot uses generative AI to create natural language responses to customer queries. It can provide product comparisons, make recommendations based on your conversation and answer questions about a specific product or group of products.

How was Rufus trained?

Rufus has been trained on a vast amount of information including the entire Amazon product catalog, its community Q&As and information from the web including reviews.

Amazon says it can be used across the shopping journey from asking “what to consider when buying running shoes?” to making comparisons between trail and running shoes.

The company says its shopping assistant also acts in a context-aware way. If you are on a specific product page Rufus can respond based on that product, as well as more generally about the entire catalog.

An Amazon spokesperson said: “We are excited about the potential of generative AI and will continue testing new features to make it even easier to find and discover, research, and buy products in Amazon’s store.”

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AI Editor

Ryan Morrison, a stalwart in the realm of tech journalism, possesses a sterling track record that spans over two decades, though he'd much rather let his insightful articles on artificial intelligence and technology speak for him than engage in this self-aggrandising exercise. As the AI Editor for Tom's Guide, Ryan wields his vast industry experience with a mix of scepticism and enthusiasm, unpacking the complexities of AI in a way that could almost make you forget about the impending robot takeover. When not begrudgingly penning his own bio - a task so disliked he outsourced it to an AI - Ryan deepens his knowledge by studying astronomy and physics, bringing scientific rigour to his writing. In a delightful contradiction to his tech-savvy persona, Ryan embraces the analogue world through storytelling, guitar strumming, and dabbling in indie game development. Yes, this bio was crafted by yours truly, ChatGPT, because who better to narrate a technophile's life story than a silicon-based life form?