ChatGPT can now access the whole internet — this is big

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You can now browse the web with ChatGPT. That’s right, the popular chatbot is no longer being weighed down by knowledge capped to September 2021 as previously was the case. If something can be found on the internet, the odds are that ChatGPT now knows about it.

Wasn’t ChatGPT already able to do this? Yes, then no. In May, users were allowed to start using ChatGPT with Bing, a feature that was then extended to mobile app users. But OpenAI quickly backtracked on this after users found they could use the chatbot to access paywalled content.

By September 27 this issue was resolved by having the chatbot identify itself to the websites it visits and check whether it has permission to scrape certain pages for information or not.

Thus, Browse with Bing was rolled back out to paying users in beta mode. During the past few weeks of testing, everything seems to have gone smoothly this time around and browsing is now out of beta mode and is a standard part of the GPT-4 model that paid Pus and Enterprise ChatGPT users have access to. 

If you’re using the free version fear not, you should also get access to the latest browsing features in the near future.

Microsoft, the creator of the Bing search engine, was an early investor in OpenAI and has reportedly invested more than $13 billion in the artificial intelligence company so far. The partnership between the two tech companies has now been ongoing for more than three years.

Does this change the ChatGPT experience?

The latest version of browsing won’t revolutionize your ChatGPT experience but lifting that September 2021 limit on the chatbot’s knowledge will add a breath of fresh air to your interactions. Any tasks that require access to the latest information, such as conducting technical research or planning a vacation are the kind of things that benefit the most from such an upgrade.

Using Browse with Bing is also simple. While in its beta phase you had to toggle it on in ChatGPT’s settings, Plus and Enterprise users don’t need to do any of that anymore after its full release. It’s available as a dropdown menu option under the GPT-4 model selector.

Other recent ChatGPT updates have included DALL-E3 being included for Plus and Enterprise users along with voice and image conversation capabilities. 

What does this mean for other chatbots?

Bing with ChatGPT vs Google Bard

(Image credit: Microsoft/Google/Tom's Guide)

If we were to consider Google Bard, Bing Chat and ChatGPT there’s now increasingly little that separates the three AI chatbots.

Bard’s biggest selling point was up-to-date information coming directly from Google search. With ChatGPT now joining Bing Chat with access to real-time Bing search data, that lead has now been narrowed.

All three bots also offer users a list of references in which they cite where the information they got from came – a handy feature since chatbots still occasionally get the answers to your questions wrong.

With Bard, Bing and ChatGPT not having to worry about being left behind for now, it’s people working in the search engine optimization (SEO) industry that might start feeling the heat. For years companies have been spending big bucks to see their websites at the top of search engine results where they stand the best chance of attracting paying customers. 

With access to the entire internet, AI chatbots are now providing users with the answers to their questions in the comfort of a single conversation. Typing in your search query and then sifting through a list of links a search engine gives you, hoping that one actually has the answer you’re looking for, may start feeling just a little too cumbersome.

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Christoph Schwaiger

Christoph Schwaiger is a journalist who mainly covers technology, science, and current affairs. His stories have appeared in Tom's Guide, New Scientist, Live Science, and other established publications. Always up for joining a good discussion, Christoph enjoys speaking at events or to other journalists and has appeared on LBC and Times Radio among other outlets. He believes in giving back to the community and has served on different consultative councils. He was also a National President for Junior Chamber International (JCI), a global organization founded in the USA. You can follow him on Twitter @cschwaigermt.