OpenAI, backed by Microsoft (MSFT.O), has announced a significant expansion of ChatGPT’s capabilities. Users of ChatGPT will now have the ability to surf the web, a feature that extends the chatbot’s access to information beyond its previous cutoff date in September 2021.
This latest browsing feature is designed to give websites control over how ChatGPT interacts with their content. OpenAI stated that browsing is currently available to Plus and Enterprise users and will be rolled out to all users in the near future. Users can enable this feature by selecting “Browse with Bing” in the GPT-4 interface.
Additionally, OpenAI unveiled a major update earlier in the week, enabling ChatGPT to engage in voice conversations with users and interact using images. This move brings ChatGPT closer to the functionality of popular AI assistants like Apple’s Siri (AAPL.O).
It’s worth noting that OpenAI had previously experimented with a feature that allowed users to access real-time information through the Bing search engine within the premium ChatGPT Plus offering. However, this feature was temporarily disabled due to concerns that it could potentially enable users to bypass paywalls on certain websites.
ChatGPT has seen remarkable growth, becoming the fastest-growing consumer application in history, reaching 100 million monthly active users in January. It briefly held this distinction before being overtaken by Meta’s Threads app. This surge in popularity has generated increased investor interest in OpenAI, with reports suggesting that the startup is in discussions with shareholders regarding a potential sale of existing shares at a significantly higher valuation than just a few months ago.