Just a few days after unveiling support for picture prompts and voice conversations, OpenAI’s ChatGPT is back in the spotlight with the reintroduction of web browsing capabilities. This feature enables ChatGPT to scour the internet for current and authoritative information, complete with direct links to sources, breaking free from the limitations of data gathered prior to September 2021. However, it’s worth noting that this isn’t ChatGPT’s first rendezvous with web browsing, as it briefly dabbled in this domain earlier this year before being withdrawn in July. OpenAI has made improvements since then to address certain issues, such as users exploiting the feature to circumvent paywalls and access paid content for free.
ChatGPT’s web browsing is powered by Bing, and this partnership isn’t surprising, considering the close collaboration between Microsoft and OpenAI in recent years. The feature is touted as particularly useful for tasks that demand up-to-date information, such as vacation planning or technical research. Let’s dive into how it works and what you can expect from it.
Currently, the web browsing feature is available to ChatGPT Plus subscribers for $20 per month. Enterprise users have immediate access, while everyone else can anticipate its availability in the near future, as per OpenAI’s announcement.
Initiating Web Browsing
To enable web browsing in ChatGPT, users need to log in on the web platform, select the GPT-4 engine, and then choose ‘Browse with Bing’ from the menu that appears below. Once activated, ChatGPT combines information from the web with the data from its regular training to provide answers.
During our testing, ChatGPT demonstrated its newfound ability to retrieve real-time information. For instance, we asked about the launch date of the iPhone 15, and it promptly provided an answer while linking to a reputable tech website for additional details, underscoring its ability to stay up to date with current events.
OpenAI has labeled the web browsing feature as “beta,” indicating that refinements and improvements are in the pipeline. It’s important to note that ChatGPT’s performance with this feature depends on the quality of Bing’s search results. In cases where the search engine cannot provide a definitive answer, ChatGPT may direct users to relevant websites for more information, as opposed to generating an answer itself.
As with any technology that accesses the internet, ethical considerations arise. OpenAI will need to address potential issues related to misinformation, biased sources, and privacy concerns. Ensuring that ChatGPT provides accurate and unbiased information from reputable sources is a paramount challenge.
The return of web browsing capabilities in ChatGPT opens up new possibilities for AI-assisted research and information retrieval. It could empower users across various domains, from academics and professionals to curious individuals seeking instant answers to their questions.
OpenAI’s progress with ChatGPT demonstrates the ongoing evolution of AI-powered conversational agents. With each iteration, these AI models become more capable, adaptive, and responsive to user needs. However, this advancement also underscores the importance of responsible AI development and deployment to navigate the challenges and ethical considerations associated with these technologies.
ChatGPT’s ability to browse the web for real-time information represents a significant milestone in the development of AI-powered chatbots. While the feature has been revisited after an earlier withdrawal, OpenAI’s commitment to refining and enhancing it suggests a promising future for AI-driven knowledge retrieval. As users embrace this capability, the responsibility falls on both OpenAI and users to ensure its ethical and responsible usage in an increasingly interconnected digital world.