OpenAI isn't slowing down with the development of ChatGPT: only a few days after the AI chatbot added support for picture prompts and voice conversations, ChatGPT is now able to once again search the web and return answers that are right up to date.
"ChatGPT can now browse the internet to provide you with current and authoritative information, complete with direct links to sources," says the OpenAI post on X. "It is no longer limited to data before September 2021."
What that post doesn't mention is that this is the same functionality that ChatGPT briefly had early this year, before it was pulled in July – users were deploying the feature to get around paywalls and access paid-for content for free. As far as we can tell from our testing, OpenAI has now plugged that particular gap.
As before, ChatGPT uses Bing to search the web – no surprise considering how closely Microsoft and OpenAI have been working together in recent years. OpenAI suggests the feature is best used for "tasks that require up-to-date information", like planning a vacation or doing some technical research.
How it works
Right now, you need to be a ChatGPT Plus subscriber to give the bot access to the web, which will set you back $20 / £16 a month. Enterprise users also get the feature right away, with access for everyone else coming "soon" OpenAI says.
Once you've logged into ChatGPT on the web, you need to select the GPT-4 engine, and then pick 'Browse with Bing' from the menu that pops up underneath. You can then start your conversation, and the bot will use information from the web in addition to the data it has access to from its regular training.
We successfully got ChatGPT to tell us when the iPhone 15 launched, and it even linked back to a reputable tech website with more information (though it wasn't TechRadar, sadly). That's one example of how the AI assistant now knows everything that's going on – as long as it's on the web.
The feature is still labeled as being in beta, so expect more refinements and improvements in the future. It's also only as good as Bing's search results, so for anything that the search engine isn't sure on – like tonight's soccer matches in the UK – you might get directed to a relevant website instead of seeing the answers.
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Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.