ChatGPT's AI smarts might be improving rapidly, but the chatbot's basic user interface can still baffle beginners. Well, that's about to improve with six ChatGPT tweaks that should give its usability a welcome boost.
OpenAI says the tweaks to ChatGPT's user experience will be rolling out "over the next week", with four of the improvements available to all users and two of them targeted at ChatGPT Plus subscribers (which costs $20 / £16 / AU$28 per month).
Starting with those improvements for all users, OpenAI says you'll now get "prompt examples" at the beginning of a new chat because a "blank page can be intimidating". ChatGPT already shows a few example prompts on its homepage (below), but we should soon see these appear in new chats, too.
Secondly, ChatGPT will also give you "suggested replies". Currently, when the chatbot has answered your question, you're simply left with the 'Send a message' box. If you're a seasoned ChatGPT user, you'll have gradually learned how to improve your ChatGPT prompts and responses, but this should speed up the process for beginners.
A third small improvement you'll see soon is that you'll stay logged into ChatGPT for much longer. OpenAI says "you'll no longer be logged out every two weeks", and when you do log in you'll be "greeted with a much more welcoming page". It isn't clear how long log-ins will now last, but we're interested to see how big an improvement that landing page is.
A bigger fourth change, though, is the introduction of keyboard shortcuts (below). While there are only six of these (see below), some of them could certainly be handy timesavers – for example, there are shortcuts to 'copy last response' (⌘/Ctrl + Shift + C) and 'toggle sidebar' (⌘/Ctrl + Shift + C). There's also an extra one to bring up the full list (⌘/Ctrl + /).
What about those two improvements for ChatGPT Plus subscribers? The biggest one is the ability to upload multiple files for ChatGPT to analyze. You'll soon be able to ask the chatbot to analyze data and serve up insights across multiple files. This will be available in the Code Interpreter Beta, a new tool that lets you convert files, make charts, perform data analysis, trim videos and more.
Lastly, ChatGPT Plus subscribers will finally find that the chatbot reverts to its GPT-4 model by default. Currently, there's a toggle at the top of the ChatGPT screen that lets you switch from the older GPT-3.5 model to GPT-4 (which is only available to Plus subscribers), but this will now remain switched to the latter if you're subscriber.
Collectively, these six changes certainly aren't as dramatic as the move to GPT-4 in March, which delivered a massive upgrade – for example, OpenAI stated that GPT-4 is "40% more likely to provide factual content" than GPT-3.5. But they should make it more approachable for beginners, who may have left the chatbot behind after the initial hype.
Analysis: ChatGPT hits an inevitable plateau
ChatGPT's explosive early hype saw it become the fastest-growing consumer app of all time – according to a UBS study, it hit 100 million monthly active users in January, just two months after it launched.
But that hype is now on the wane, with Similarweb reporting that ChatGPT traffic was down 10% in June – so it needs some new tools and features to keep people returning.
These six improvements won't see the chatbot hit the headlines again, but they will bring much-needed improvements to ChatGPT's usability and accessibility. Other recent boosts like the arrival of ChatGPT on Android will also help get casual users tinkering again, as ChatGPT alternatives like Google Bard continue to improve.
While the early AI chatbot hype has certainly fizzled out, thanks to reports that the ChatGPT will always be prone to making stuff up and some frustrations that it's increasingly producing 'dumber' answers, these AI helpers can certainly still be useful tools when used in the right way.
If you're looking for some inspiration to get you re-engaged, check out our guides to some great real-world ChatGPT examples, some extra suggestions of what ChatGPT can do, and our pick of the best ChatGPT extensions for Chrome.
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Mark is TechRadar's Senior news editor. Having worked in tech journalism for a ludicrous 17 years, Mark is now attempting to break the world record for the number of camera bags hoarded by one person. He was previously Cameras Editor at Trusted Reviews, Acting editor on Stuff.tv, as well as Features editor and Reviews editor on Stuff magazine. As a freelancer, he's contributed to titles including The Sunday Times, FourFourTwo and Arena. And in a former life, he also won The Daily Telegraph's Young Sportswriter of the Year. But that was before he discovered the strange joys of getting up at 4am for a photo shoot in London's Square Mile.