Net Platforms

artificial intelligence (ai) and machine learning (ml)

OpenAI reinstates ChatGPT’s internet browsing privileges

If the chatbot doesn’t know what you need, it’ll ‘Bing It!’ for paying customers

ChatGPT can now scan the internet and provide users with up-to-date responses to their queries, OpenAI revealed Wednesday.

Previously, the popular AI chatbot’s knowledge base was limited to information obtained prior to September 2021. With the latest update, the service can once again surf the net with the help of Microsoft’s Bing search engine and summarize relevant contemporary information.

“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 company stated in a Xeet.

OpenAI has already let ChatGPT trawl through cyberspace in search of fresh information. The AI outfit introduced Bing search functionality in May for paying customers, but paused the feature after less than two months over concerns the feature might allow users to circumvent paywalls websites implement to ensure only subscribers can view their content.

ChatGPT was not the only AI chatbot that made paywalls look flimsy. As we reported in July, Microsoft’s Bing Chat and Google’s Bard could be used to get around paywalls – though, both companies appear to have nipped that particular talent in the bud.

As part of today’s update, OpenAI revealed that new rules had been implemented such as reading and respecting sites’ robots.txt files – which provide instructions to crawlers on what information can and can’t be indexed – and “identifying user agents so sites can control how ChatGPT interacts with them.”

We’ve asked the company for comment on what other safeguards have been implemented to prevent the chatbot from getting around paywalls; we’ll let you know if we hear anything back.

ChatGPT’s reinstated internet privileges are still limited to paying customers for now. “Browsing is available to Plus and Enterprise users today, and we’ll expand to all users soon. To enable, choose Browse with Bing in the selector under GPT-4,” the company said in another Xeet.

The update comes just days after OpenAI upgraded ChatGPT with eyes, ears, and a mouth. As we reported Monday, the multimodal model can listen to users and respond to their queries in one of five AI generated voices. Users can also query the chatbot with uploaded images.

For the moment these features are limited to paying customers. OpenAI assured free tier users will have to wait another two weeks before the upgrades become available to all.

OpenAI’s services have enjoyed explosive growth over the past few quarters with UBS analysts proclaiming ChatGPT to be the fastest growing web app of all time in February. In the wake of this success, OpenAI is reportedly considering selling shares held by its employees to investors in a move that could boost its valuation as high as $90 billion.

Source: OpenAI reinstates ChatGPT’s internet browsing privileges • The Register