Well…it was bound to happen sometime. ChatGPT, the wonder tool that made it’s big splash in December 2022, can now access the internet.
This is massive.
In late September, OpenAI, creator of ChatGPT announced that “ChatGPT can now browse the internet”, on “X” (the platform formerly known as Twitter).
Up to this point, ChatGPT only had ‘knowledge’ of things pertaining to everything up to 2021, that’s all it was trained to know.
In May 2023, access to ChatGPT with Bing was granted to users, and this capability was subsequently extended to mobile app users.
However, OpenAI promptly reversed this decision when it became apparent that users were able to utilize the chatbot to bypass paywalls and access restricted content.
As of September 27, this problem was addressed by implementing a system where the chatbot introduces itself to the websites it visits, and conducts checks to determine if it is authorized to extract specific information from certain pages.
Consequently, Browse with Bing was reintroduced to beta mode for paying users.
Over the past few weeks of testing, this transition has been seamless, and browsing has now moved from beta mode to a standard feature with the GPT-4 model, accessible to paid Plus and Enterprise ChatGPT users.
Does the Free Version Have this Capability?
If you’re using the free version, don’t worry, you’ll soon have access to this feature in the not too distant future.
Microsoft, the creator of the Bing search engine, has been an early investor in OpenAI, having reportedly poured over $13 billion into the artificial intelligence company to date.
This partnership has been ongoing for more than three years.
Does this alter the ChatGPT experience?
The most recent browsing update may not entirely revolutionize your ChatGPT experience, but the removal of the September 2021 knowledge limitation will breathe new life into your interactions.
Tasks that require access to up-to-date information, like technical research or vacation planning, are the ones that stand to benefit the most from this upgrade.
What about the competition?
When we look at Google Bard, Bing Chat, and ChatGPT, it’s becoming harder to tell them apart.
Google Bard used to boast about its access to fresh information straight from Google search, but now that ChatGPT has hopped on board with real-time Bing search data, that advantage is less pronounced.
All three bots come equipped with a nifty feature – they provide references for the information they share. This comes in handy since chatbots can still slip up on answers from time to time.
With Bard, Bing, and ChatGPT keeping up the pace, it’s the folks in the search engine optimization (SEO) industry who might start feeling the pressure.
For years, businesses have been investing big bucks to secure a prime spot at the top of search results, where they have the best shot at attracting paying customers.
AI chatbots, armed with access to the vast expanse of the internet, are now delivering answers to your queries right in the middle of a casual conversation.
The old routine of entering a search query and then sifting through a list of links from a search engine, hoping to strike gold with the right answer, might just start feeling heavier than is necessary.
The fact that ChatGPT can now access the internet is a much bigger deal that any of us can probably imagine.
I don’t know about you, but I’m excited 🙂