Since its launch in November of 2022, OpenAI’s revolutionary ChatGPT platform has improved drastically. By the summer of 2023, their GPT-4 model was licensed for use by many businesses and inspiring competition by the likes of Google and Microsoft. In the following months, OpenAI has taken the shackles off of its biggest product to allow it to source real-time information from the 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
ChatGPT & The Internet
At launch, ChatGPT’s biggest and perhaps most notorious limitation was the fact that it could not source real-time information online. The AI chatbot could not source any information after September 2021, with OpenAI citing accuracy concerns. While some of those concerns still exist – ChatGPT can make mistakes – a September 2023 update has finally given the program access to Microsoft’s Bing browser to search online. This would allow users to effortlessly find information online, particularly for industries that exist solely online. For sectors like e-commerce or iGaming, it means that ChatGPT could pull up their products, and games, and filter to discover the best casino promotions like free spins or deposit matches/bonuses.
This validates one of ChatGPT’s many potential uses as a search engine alternative. It should also improve the program’s accuracy, though OpenAI’s warning that it “may occasionally generate incorrect information” should still be remembered when using it. Users should verify information given to them by the chatbot with a third party, including checking out online content even if they search via GPT.
The ChatGPT-Bing alliance is a blow to Google, which was hoping to use the world’s most powerful search engine to become the leader of AI-powered search. Their plans for Google Bard include a split program, one half being a search results page and the other being the chatbot that’s capable of filtering, translating and summarizing information on its pages. This saves unnecessary clicking, making large-scale internet research much easier.
The Bing Search Rollout
Before September 2023, ChatGPT did have a stint of internet search enabled via Bing – the Browse with Bing feature. This lasted just a week due to both functional and aesthetic concerns. It was also used to bypass paywalls, something OpenAI vehemently disagreed with, and might have opened them up to legal action.
OpenAI has temporarily disabled the "Browse with Bing" feature in its AI chatbot, ChatGPT, following user reports of paywall bypassing. The feature – introduced to enhance the search experience beyond the limitations of the GPT-4 model – inadvertently allowed users to access… pic.twitter.com/oNr31UwVmk— Shelly Palmer (@shellypalmer) July 5, 2023
Despite Microsoft being a technical competitor with OpenAI, Bing has been the tool of choice for ChatGPT’s internet-enabled search features. While their platforms may compete, Bing’s collaboration with OpenAI has been taking place for months. Also, while he doesn’t influence Microsoft much these days, founder and former CEO Bill Gates is one of OpenAI’s biggest investors, so that may have provided groundwork for further cooperation between the two AI brands. Using Bing, it’ll process a user’s query and pose it to the search engine. Then it can report back with real-time information and take further commands to filter the search output.
When it returned, the search engine addition was available to paying subscribers of ChatGPT – the Plus and Enterprise users – though OpenAI has said that it’ll expand to all users at a later date. In the meantime, Microsoft is continuing improvements on its Bing AI platform. The AI made headlines in 2023 after exhibiting strange, eerily human attachments to the user, something that other companies had avoided or limited in their models.
OpenAI’s continued improvement of ChatGPT is good news for the entire AI industry, as many platforms and services rely on its backend infrastructure. While limitations still exist, and perhaps should exist, AI-powered real-time search is a great step towards solidifying a reliable, accessible free flow of information online.