Until last week, ChatGPT pulled its information from training data ending around September 2021. But OpenAI’s just-launched plugins allow the bot to access third-party knowledge sources and databases — including the web, TechCrunch reported.
OpenAI will first prioritize a select number of developers and subscribers to its premium ChatGPT Plus plan before introducing larger-scale and API access, according to the company’s site.
Of course, giving a chatbot web access doesn’t come without some risk: WebGPT, an experimental system created in 2021 by OpenAI, at times quoted unreliable sources and drew from sites it anticipated users would find credible — whether they actually were or not.
Additionally, the update is another step in the direction toward a potential upending of traditional search engines like Google — which declared a “code red” upon ChatGPT’s release, The New York Times reported.
Other companies like Expedia, Instacart, Kayak, Klarna, Spotify, Slack, OpenTable and Zapier have also rolled out plug-ins for ChatGPT; Zapier is a standout for its ability to complete a variety of productivity tasks via connections with apps like Google Sheets and Trello, per TechCrunch.