ChatGPT isn’t the only AI tool that should be in your toolbox. In fact, thousands of AI tools have been released since the generative AI boom.
As we reported last week, a significant part of AI literacy is understanding what tools are out there and which ones you should leverage for the type of work that you do. The right tool can go a long way.
Future of work media platform FlexOS released a “Generative AI Top 150: The World’s Most Used AI Tools” report that uncovers the most popular ones being used right now. The report was created by analyzing over 200 AI tools, focusing on those used by consumers, by looking at usage estimates derived from SimilarWeb’s monthly visits and Ahrefs’ organic search volume, with data collected at the end of January. The AI tools in the complete list generate over 3 billion monthly visits.
We’ve filtered the list to pull out the tools that are most popular in desk-based jobs, although the full list includes high-ranking education-related AI tools like TurnItIn, which helps teachers detect AI content in student’s homework, and Brainly, which lets students take a photo of an assignment and get expert-verified support – both were in the top 10 most used.
“I’m a big proponent of messing around and experimenting,” said Daan van Rossum, CEO at FlexOS. “This top 150 shows that there is ‘an AI for everyone’ with usage cases ranging from turning sketches into renderings for architects to building your ideal AI girlfriend.”
Simplified AI is a free tool that generates instant marketing copy in seconds. It touts itself as writing unique and plagiarism-free content for blogs, articles, ads, products, websites and social media. You can write copy in over 10 tones and reach audiences in over 30 languages. It also offers a Copy AI Rewriter Tool to rewrite content in different ways for different platforms. It’s a fan favorite for marketing teams. Its competitors include Copy.AI, which also targets marketing roles, and ZeroGPT. However, Simplified AI was the most used AI tool within the Writing and Editing category. It was the 16th most used tool overall.
“A social media marketer or content creator may opt to use a tool like Copy.AI or Jasper, both of which have more functionality than just ChatGPT,” said van Rossum. “They also have different features when compared to each other or other writing tools like Simplified and Writesonic.”
Cost: Free users can generate up to 2,000 words per month and paid plans start from $12 a month, billed annually, which lets you generate up to 35,000 words per month.
The 15th most used tool overall, ElevenLabs converts text to speech online with its AI voice generator. Users can create natural AI voices in any language. It’s geared toward people working in video creation fields, but is useful for developers and other business functions. For example, someone could use this tool to audio generate a written article for people who prefer to listen to an article rather than read it.
Cost: The free plan includes 10,000 characters monthly with up to three custom voices and speech generation in 29 languages. The paid tiers range from $5 a month to a business plan at $330 a month, which includes 2 million characters and up to 660 custom voices.
There’s an increased usage of AI-powered research tools, and Perplexity.ai is leading the way. It blends GPT-like conversational answers and links to real sources. The 14th most used tool in January, it’s ideal for someone who worries about AI hallucinations that occur with GPTs, when the AI encounters a gap in its data so makes up a fact to compensate. It’s similar to other tools like ChatPDF, which helps you dissect a PDF, and Consensus, an AI research tool for academic papers.
It’s set up similarly to ChatGPT where you ask a chatbot a question, but its answers are preceded by its sources and also include visual explanations.
Coming in as the 13th most used AI tool last month, Canva has joined the image generator tools alongside Midjourney and DeepAI. In fact, it tied with Midjourney at 16% usage in the image generator category, according to the report. FlexOS found in its Generative AI at Work Research Report that image generation is one of the top ways that professionals are taking advantage of AI, alongside writing and editing. You can create images that visualize a product or idea or sketch out a concept with a quick text prompt.
Midjourney was the 12th most used AI tool overall, almost neck and neck with Canva. It can be used for fun – like showing a fake Pope in a puffer coat to AI-generated Cyberpunk visuals – but it’s also handy at work, for similar reasons to those outlined above. It’s a popular tool for marketing communications agencies to create different ad campaigns or new images for internal communications.
Cost: Midjourney has four subscription tiers ranging from $10 a month for the basic plan to $120 a month for the mega plan. Each subscription plan includes access to the Midjourney member gallery, the official Discord, and general commercial usage terms.
Breaking into the top 10 most used AI tool list, DeepAI is the most popular image generator tool being used right now. It has a 19% usage rate, knocking Canva and Midjourney out by just three percentage points. It’s a straightforward tool that can create an image from a prompt by choosing a model and style. They also offer an AI chatbot that offers text.
Cost: You can use DeepAI for free, or use the pro version for $4.99 a month which gives you more access.
Moving away from image generation, Replit is the only programming tool that made it into the top 10 most used AI tools list, coming in at number eight. It helps programmers create and deploy web applications. While niche to the workplace as a whole, it has been hugely helpful for those working in web development. There are over 25 million builders on Replit. You can collaborate with other programmers in real-time with its multiplayer editor and build, test, and deploy directly from the browser.
Cost: You can access Replit for free to use a basic workspace. However, Replit Core is what is recommended, coming in at $120 a year, which gives you unlimited basic responses for AI chat, access to an advanced AI model, and unlimited private projects.
Bard, which can be compared to ChatGPT but is owned by Google, is the fifth most used AI tool right now. It sits alongside other tools like Bing AI, Claude and Microsoft Copilot. All of those combined take 66% of all generative AI usage, according to the report. When it comes to these general GPT tools, Bard takes up 7% of the category. The tool can be used similarly to other GPTs, including for brainstorming, content creation, summarization and analysis, information retrieval and more. Users can view each draft of the answers that Bard provides. As of Feb. 1, you can also generate images in Bard.
A surprise hit, bigger than Google’s Bard, is Character.AI, coming in as the fourth most used AI tool. It offers over 18 million characters to choose from, alongside tools to practice a new language or interviewing. Users reportedly spend over two hours per day on average with these AI buddies. It is also disproportionately visited by the youngest measured visitor group, which helps paint a picture of the workplace of the future.
“In the context of what many governments are referring to as a ‘loneliness epidemic’ and after the Covid-19 lockdowns, the popularity of chat buddies like Character.AI, AI Chatting, Candy AI, Chai, and Anima, is perhaps easier to understand,” said van Rossum. “Still, the fact that users spend, on average, two hours per day on Character.ai shows what an incredibly attractive proposition this platform offers to users.”
The platform was created by ex-Googlers in 2021 and brings in hundreds of millions of monthly users. While it’s not directly related to a workplace tool, people use it as a language tutor, for adventure games, brainstorming, advice and more.
Cost: Free with limits of creating five characters and only 100 prompts. From there, it starts at $9.99 a month.
Grammarly AI commands a substantial user base in the writing and editing category and comes in as the third most-used AI tool in January. The tool has become a necessity for a lot of people’s daily work lives. It corrects your writing in real time but also coaches you to become a better writer over time through its plug-in. Grammarly also offers a business plan to collaborate on communication at scale. Everyone working a desk job communicates through writing at some point, if not all the time, which makes this tool extremely useful.
Cost: While there is a free version that can help improve your writing skills, the premium version, coming in at $12 a month, offers much more. The business plan is $15 per month per member.
Bing AI takes up 16% of the GPT category and comes in second place overall. Instead of having to go to a certain website to access AI-generated answers, Bing does that for all of your search queries. It’s one of the reasons why people decided to use Bing so that they can access answers quickly instead of having to have a separate tab open.
Unsurprisingly, ChatGPT continues to sweep the AI tool industry, and is the most used. With 1.67 billion visits, ChatGPT represents over half of this traffic and is already bigger than Netflix, Microsoft, Pinterest, Twitch and the New York Times.
“While AI has been around for decades, this shows how the right offering influences user adoption heavily,” said van Rossum. “I would have imagined that ChatGPT, while impressive, would have captured the imagination and continued usage of only a smaller group of tech enthusiasts. But ChatGPT adoption and usage are clearly mainstream beyond early adopters.”
ChatGPT is the leader by a mile when it comes to AI tool usage, taking over 50% of the billions of monthly visits. Regulators, government bodies, and the competition will all be looking at how ChatGPT’s market share develops over the next months and years.
Cost: Free for basic. $20 for ChatGPT Plus.