Game changer AI: ChatGPT now deploys powerful plugins for web browsing

Developers can also deploy their own version of the plug-in and register it with ChatGPT, says OpenAI.
Baba Tamim
Illustration - ChatGPT plugins.
Illustration - ChatGPT plugins.


A major upgrade to ChatGPT's functionality has given the chatbot access to live web data for the first time, expanding OpenAI's impact exponentially. 

The plug-ins would enable the bot to interact with certain websites in addition to just browsing the web, allowing the system to serve as a comprehensive user interface for various services, according to OpenAI's announcement on Thursday.

"Users have been asking for plug-ins" to "unlock a vast range of possible use cases," said OpenAI's blog.

"We're starting with a small set of users and are planning to gradually roll out larger-scale access as we learn more."

There are 11 plug-ins for third-party websites, including Zapier, OpenTable, Kayak, Expedia, and OpenTable.

Additionally, OpenAI offers some of its plug-ins, including one for deciphering code and another one called "Browsing," allowing ChatGPT to access the internet for data.

ChatGPT and the power of plug-ins 

The company uses a scenario where a user inquires about how the box office performances of this year's Oscar winners compare to those of recently released films, 

The "Browsing" plug-in responds by displaying the sources it used to gather its information, which was impossible for ChatGPT to perform earlier. 

Developers can deploy their plug-in version and register it with ChatGPT because the software is open-source and self-hosted, further read the blog. 

The plug-in uses OpenAI embeddings and allows developers to index and search documents using one of six vector databases: Milvus, Pinecone, Qdrant, Redis, Weaviate, or Zilliz.

"Information sources can be synchronized with the database using webhooks," said the blog. 

This test feature clearly resembles Microsoft's Bing AI, which uses unique technology to pull internet data for GPT-4, the language model running the latest model of ChatGPT. 

The plug-in from OpenAI does more than merely get current data, though. According to the documentation provided by the company, it can also integrate with APIs, enabling it to "conduct actions on behalf of the user." 

By notifying you about flights and accommodations, Bing could assist you in planning a trip, but ChatGPT could actually make the booking

Allowing ChatGPT to perform actions instead of just providing information raises some apparent safety and security concerns.

For instance, when instructed to do so by a human tester, the bot produced instructions for hiring a TaskRabbit employee to finish a CAPTCHA it could not solve. 

OpenAI claims to have considered the risks posed by these plug-ins and "implemented several safeguards," including initially only making the plug-ins available to a very small group of users.

The company offers a sign-up for a waitlist here, and it will "initially prioritize a small number of developers and ChatGPT Plus users" to get plug-in access.

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