Editor's note: This has been updated to reflect updates to Bing and ChatGPT announced at Microsoft Build.
First, in the ChatGPT release notes, OpenAI announced that it is rolling out new features to ChatGPT Plus beta users. This includes ChatGPT plugins, which allow users to enable integrations from third-party partners to insert their products into ChatGPT. And as revealed at Microsoft Build, these plugins are now part of an open plugin platform so they will also work with Bing Chat and other Microsoft AI products like Windows 11 Copilot.
A prime example of this is Expedia’s ChatGPT plugin, which allows users to plan trips and offer direct links out to Expedia so you can book whatever is needed. There are similar plugins slated to come from Instacart and other well-known companies.
But that's not the only feature coming to ChatGPT Plus through this new beta. OpenAI is also officially plugging ChatGPT into the internet thanks to web browsing. And, it's bringing Bing search to the AI chatbot thanks to Microsoft. Both features are currently exclusive to the beta and can be turned on when using the GPT-4 LLM in ChatGPT Plus.
How to enable ChatGPT plugins in the ChatGPT Plus beta
To enable plugins, go to the Settings menu of your ChatGPT Plus account and then click on Beta features. Then, toggle on Plugins. The beta panel is rolling out to Plus users over the course of this week.
While OpenAI has touted ChatGPT Plus features such as access to ChatGPT even when demand is high, faster response speeds and priority access to new features when they become available, the reality is that ChatGPT Plus has struggled to give us a compelling reason to use it. Now with access to plugins finally live, ChatGPT Plus might be able to convince regular users as opposed to just AI enthusiasts to part with $20 a month.
ChatGPT Plus connects to the web: OpenAI responds to Google Search Generative Experience
With web browsing, ChatGPT Plus users will now be able to use a new version of ChatGPT that can choose when it needs to browse the internet to respond to your prompts and queries. According to OpenAI, this version of ChatGPT “knows when and how how to browse the internet to answer questions about recent topics and events.”
So, for example, if you asked ChatGPT if you were dead, it could choose to search the internet to find that information and verify that you are, in fact, alive, rather than assume that you’re dead based on the out-of-date information it was initially trained on (ChatGPT was trained up until 2021).
This feature may be tied to the announcement that Bing is coming to ChatGPT. Bing search will now be available in ChatGPT for ChatGPT Plus users through a plugin, so you can search for up-to-date information while using the popular AI chatbot. This feature is currently still in beta, but Microsoft says it will eventually come to the free research preview version of ChatGPT.
This seems to be a direct response to Google and its new Search Generative Experience announced at Google I/O 2023. This new version of Search replaces the typical search engine results page with an AI-powered snapshot to answer your questions.
If you want ChatGPT to be able to browse the web, you’ll need to go to the Settings menu of your ChatGPT Plus account and then click on Beta features. Then, toggle on Web browsing. Again, the beta panel is rolling out to Plus users over the course of this week.