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ChatGPT will let you browse the web in real time soon, without paying for Plus

Published Sep 28th, 2023 6:50AM EDT
ChatGPT homepage
Image: Stanislav Kogiku/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

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A few months ago, I told you that ChatGPT might have finally given me a reason to subscribe to the paid Plus tier. OpenAI announced the partnership with Microsoft’s Bing at the time. But then ChatGPT users were able to access paywalled content at the time, which wasn’t the intended purpose of the feature. OpenAI had to remove the feature.

The company has fixed the issues and is ready to re-roll out ChatGPT support for browsing the live internet. Like in May, paid users get access to the feature first. But OpenAI also indicated in its short announcement that it plans to expand the feature to all users soon. If you’re not in a hurry to try the live web plugin, you don’t have to upgrade to ChatGPT Plus to get the feature.

What “soon” means is unclear, but the generative AI space is very competitive now. OpenAI can’t afford to restrict ChatGPT to data that’s not newer than September 2021. Not when competitors like Google are integrating Google Bard into all sorts of Google apps. And Bard does have access to the live web.

Then there’s Microsoft, too, whose ChatGPT-based Bing Chat can browse the web. While Microsoft is an OpenAI partner, it’s AI is also a competitor.

“ChatGPT can now browse the internet to provide you with current and authoritative information, complete with direct links to sources,” OpenAI said on Twitter/X, offering a use-case example. “It is no longer limited to data before September 2021.”

As the message shows, OpenAI is also looking to start fixing another issue with generative AI products. Bots like ChatGPT can hallucinate information, which means they’ll provide misleading answers. That’s why I always ask for sources and links in my prompts. And ChatGPT doesn’t always comply with my commands.

The live connection to the internet will bring that feature to ChatGPT. You’ll see direct links to sources in your results so you can verify the information.

To browse the web with ChatGPT, you have to be a Plus or Enterprise subscriber. If you’re paying for ChatGPT, then you’ll want to look for the Browse with Bing in the selector under GPT-4.

If you can’t find it, you might have to enable it from ChatGPT’s settings. Here’s how to do that, according to OpenAI:

Click on ‘Profile & Settings’

Select ‘Beta features’

Toggle on ‘Browse with Bing’

All we need now is live internet support in the free version of ChatGPT.

That said, I’ll point out that ChatGPT Plus does come with access to GPT-4, OpenAI’s most sophisticated generative AI language model.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.