New ChatGPT plugins enable web browsing and other features
6 mins read

New ChatGPT plugins enable web browsing and other features

OpenAI announced that they are slowly rolling out plugins for ChatGPT that extend the functionality to enable new things like web browsing.

What are ChatGPT plugins?

OpenAI describes their plugins as tools that ChatGPT can use.

These new plugins are still being tested and may not work out of the box.

ChatGPT needs training to use them.

The plugin that generates the most excitement is one that allows web browsing, which many users report with erroneous results.

But to be fair, these plugins are currently being released as part of an alpha testing program for just a select few users and developers.

In order to use the plugin, the user does not have to do anything to trigger the use of a plugin.

ChatGPT calls the plugin when needed to complete a task.

Still, OpenAI offers users the option to enable a plugin if they deem it necessary.

OpenAI explained how plugins work:

“The aim of the model is to help the user.

ChatGPT intelligently decides between calling a plugin and serving a user’s request using its intrinsic knowledge.

For example, the model may decide that a question about current events requires invoking a browser plug-in, but is comfortable answering a very simple math or science question without the use of a plug-in.

The user can always encourage the model to use a plugin by explicitly asking the model to use a plugin, such asUse Expedia to plan my NYC trip‘.”

ChatGPT 3.5 with Browsing – Alpha

A new plugin that allows ChatGPT to browse the web has just been launched for users.

The ability to have ChatGPT complete tasks using information from around the web is a feature that users have been asking for for a long time, as the current model includes dates only up to 2021.

This new plugin allows access to more up-to-date information and enables more tasks to be completed.

The new plugin is referred to as an alpha version.

Alpha versions of software are the first versions of software and are generally assumed to have problems (called bugs) that the testers are supposed to find.

A beta version of software is ready to be extensively tested by volunteers.

Software companies often release alpha and beta versions with the disclaimer that they are released for testing purposes and not for use in critical business environments.

Users share their experiences with ChatGPT plugins

A recent thread on Reddit highlighted the alpha quality of the browser plugin.

A user shared that they have access to a code interpreter plugin and confirmed the existence of a Slack channel for sharing feedback on this plugin.

The Redditor wrote:

“This is one of the options along with the code interpreter and plugins when you sign up for plugin access.

I have access to the code interpreter and have been invited to a private beta slack group to provide feedback.

You may also be invited to a Slack group to provide Open AI feedback.

Have fun with this feature.”

Another user with access to the new ChatGPT browsing plugin shared:

“Have you noticed that 75% of the time it doesn’t answer at all? I think it has to do with the type of questions, for example if I ask it to crawl a specific URL it’s very hit or miss.”

Another user commented on how the browsing plugin seems to get into a browsing loop that would not end.

The user wrote:

“Specify a limit on how long it can browse. If I add ‘Don’t spend more than ten minutes browsing and if you need more time ask meIt responds quickly to my prompt every time.

If I don’t put that in my command prompt, sometimes it just says ‘search‘ forever.”

Another Redditor discovered limits on which pages can be accessed. It can be a guard rail against accessing untrustworthy websites.

They shared:

“Ask it to search a specific domain like Reddit and it has no problem.

Ask it to search Yandex and you will get ‘Sorry blah blah language models strive to produce only accurate information from reliable sources.

Should I search with Google?‘.”

Third Party Plugins

In addition to the plugins developed by OpenAI, developers can join a waiting list and, if invited, use the existing documentation to create a plugin.

The plugin works through an application programming interface (API).

An API is a set of rules (called protocols) that act like a connecting bridge between two different software programs.

In this case, ChatGPT is one software and the plugin created by a developer is the other software, with the API in the middle allowing the two software to work together.

The official OpenAI documentation for plugin developers states:

“OpenAI plugins connect ChatGPT to third-party applications. These plugins allow ChatGPT to interact with developer-defined APIs, enhancing ChatGPT’s capabilities and allowing it to perform a variety of actions.

Plugins can allow ChatGPT to do things like:

  • retrieving real-time information; B. Sports scores, stock prices, the latest news, etc.
  • retrieve information from the knowledge base; B. Company documents, personal notes, etc.
  • perform actions on behalf of the user; B. booking a flight, ordering food, etc.

…The AI ​​model acts as an intelligent API caller. Given an API specification and a natural language description of when to use the API, the model proactively calls the API to perform actions.

For example, if a user asks: “Where should I stay in Paris for a few nights?‘ The model can call a hotel reservation plugin API, receive the API response, and generate a user-facing response that combines the API data and its natural language capabilities.

Examples of already created third-party plugins:

    • Expedia
    • instacart
    • KAYAK
    • open table
    • Shopify
    • Relaxed
    • Zapier

ChatGPT plugins

Limited access to ChatGPT plugins is currently granted to ChatGPT Plus users and developers who are on a waitlist.

Users who want access to these plugins can also opt-in to the waitlist (the same waitlist is used for both users and developers).

The official announcement noted that the plugin launch is an alpha level access and they intend to release plugins to more users in time.

Read the official OpenAI announcement:

ChatGPT plugins

Featured image from Shutterstock/The Faces