ChatGPT Reconnects to Internet
ChatGPT can now browse the internet to provide you with current and authoritative information, complete with direct links to sources. It is no longer limited to data before September 2021. pic.twitter.com/pyj8a9HWkB
— OpenAI (@OpenAI) September 27, 2023
OpenAI has given ChatGPT the ability to search the internet for answers to user queries and summarize website content this week after briefly trialing the feature in March. OpenAI announced ChatGPT’s internet link feature on X (formerly Twitter), though only for ChatGPT Plus and ChatGPT Enterprise subscribers right now. The revived web integration relies on Microsoft’s Bing search engine, with the choice for users to turn on the web search function and end ChatGPT’s September 2021 cutoff date for new information.
Adding real-time internet access doesn’t change ChatGPT’s functions in most ways, but it does give answers up-to-date information and the ability to summarize web content. The responses include citations to the sources the AI pulls from, similar to Perplexity and other generative AI chatbots with web access. ChatGPT’s earlier web browsing capacity only lasted a few days before OpenAI shut it down due to many complaints that the generative AI chatbot was providing information behind paywalls that users hadn’t paid to access. The updated version of ChatGPT’s web browsing fixes that issue by only searching public, non-paywalled sites and recognizing and respecting any website’s exclusion protocols designed to stop content scraping.
In some ways, the web access just makes ChatGPT like Microsoft Bing Chat search, which uses ChatGPT’s large language model. But for those who prefer ChatGPT’s interface, the new feature will make it easier to link with ChatGPT’s other tools. While limited to Plus and Enterprise for now, OpenAI said it plans to widen access soon.
“Since the original launch of browsing in May, we received useful feedback. Updates include following robots.txt and identifying user agents so sites can control how ChatGPT interacts with them,” OpenAI explained in its posts. “Browsing is particularly useful for tasks that require up-to-date information, such as helping you with technical research, trying to choose a bike, or planning a vacation.”
The news is part of a slew of recent ChatGPT upgrades. OpenAI just unveiled multimodal options for ChatGPT that allow for verbal conversations and enable the AI to process images in addition to text as well as plans to incorporate DALL-E 3, a new version of its text-to-image engine, into ChatGPT.