OpenAI Connects ChatGPT to the Web in Major Update

Previously reliant on data up to 2021, new updates mean that ChatGPT can now access up-to-the-minute information.

OpenAI’s chatbot, ChatGPT, which has taken the world by storm since its launch in November 2022, has unveiled a major update. The update allows users to browse the web with ChatGPT, opening up a host of new web-enabled capabilities.

The AI chatbot rapidly rose to fame late last year, hitting 100 million users in just two months, and businesses are already making full use of the tool. OpenAI, the non-profit research lab which owns ChatGPT, has announced 8 updates since its launch, each containing multiple new feature rollouts in its rapid evolution, the latest of which being the web integration.

This update is a game changer for ChatGPT. Prior to this update, the chatbot had been trained on a dataset that ended in 2021, putting it at risk of becoming obsolete in comparison to competitors trained on fresher datasets. Now, the chatbot is able to draw on up-to-date information across the web to deliver timely responses.

New Features Enabled in the ChatGPT Update

The update to ChatGPT allows access to 70 third-party browser plugins which you enable from the plugin store. Users can install as many plugins as they want.

The plugins are selected to appeal to a broad spectrum of users. They will enable users to perform actions such as planning travel, searching for a job or real estate, business management, shop, game and much more. Names such as Zapier, Slack, OpenTable and Expedia have all made the list.

Developers that want to create ChatGPT plugins can join the plugins waitlist.

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Who Can Access ChatGPT on the Web?

These new features aren’t currently available to all users yet, OpenAI tweeted: “We’re rolling out web browsing and Plugins to all ChatGPT Plus users over the next week! Moving from alpha to beta, they allow ChatGPT to access the internet and to use 70+ third-party plugins.”

ChatGPT Plus is a paid subscription service that costs $20 per month. Limiting the new features to premium account holders might make an enticing reason for users to upgrade, a way for OpenAI to monetize.

Of course, ChatGPT can still do plenty of things for free, and there are many other options out there for thrifty AI users looking for a ChatGPT alternative.

OpenAI’s Update Days after Google’s I/O Conference: Coincidence?

Google’s artificial intelligence chatbot, Bard, was the main focus during its annual Google I/O developer conference last week, with the announcement that it is now available for everyone without the need to join a waitlist.

Chief executive Sundar Pichai announced that AI has reached an ‘inflection point’ before unveiling the integration of Google’s generative AI into its Maps, Gmail and Search, in-line with the tech giant’s pledge to be an ‘AI first company.'

The Gap is closing between ChatGPT and Bard. Prior to this update they were largely differentiated by their dataset usage with Bard having always had access to the internet in real-time and ChatGPT using a dataset which ended in 2021. Although there are a few other nuances which set the chatbots apart.

Find out how each compared when we put Bard and ChatGPT head-to-head.

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Written by:
Abby Ward is a contributor at Tech.co and freelance search engine marketing (SEM) specialist. Since graduating from Kingston University London in 2015 with Bachelor's degree in Journalism with French, she has worked in many areas of digital marketing including website management, SEO, and paid media. Her specialist topics span her professional and personal interests in search social media, ad-tech, education, food & beverage, hospitality, and business.
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