The hugely popular tool, which hit 100 million users in record time just two months after its launch last November, was trained on a dataset that ended in 2021, severely limiting its capabilities compared to some of its more recent rivals.
The new web-enabled capabilities mean ChatGPT users will be able to access up-to-date information and ask questions about recent topics and events.
New features also include access to more than 70 third-party browser plugins, ranging from travel planning sites like Expedia and Kayak, to productivity tools like Slack and Zapier.
The update is currently only available for subscribers to ChatGPT Plus, who pay $20 per month for premium access to the app.
“We’re rolling out web browsing and Plugins to all ChatGPT Plus users,” OpenAI announced. “Moving from alpha to beta, they allow ChatGPT to access the internet and to use 70+ third-party plugins.”
The update comes just days after Google overhauled its Bard AI system, integrating it with many of its core products like Gmail and Maps.
Google also made Bard available for free to users in 180 countries and regions, eliminating the need to sign up for a waitlist.
News about the tech giant’s new and improved artificial intelligence was the headline event at its annual Google I/O developer conference last week, keeping in line with the firm’s pledge to be an “AI first company”.
The announcements from both OpenAI and Google come amid increased scrutiny from lawmakers and regulators surrounding AI safety.
OpenAI CEO Sam Altman will appear before Congress this week to face questions about generative AI and the risks it poses to society.
“Artificial intelligence urgently needs rules and safeguards to address its immense promise and pitfalls,” said Connecticut Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal, who chairs the Senate panel on privacy and technology.
“This hearing begins our Subcommittee’s work in overseeing and illuminating AI’s advanced algorithms and powerful technology.”
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