Access to ChatGPT’s ‘Eyes and Ears’ at last: Plugins finally being rolled out to Plus users.


Back in March, OpenAI began to develop “eyes and ears” for ChatGPT in the form of plugins. This would allow ChatGPT to exponentially expand its capabilities as a tool for users to basically delegate any task too. At the time, these plugins were only available to a select few in a “limited alpha.” But with OpenAI’s announcement Friday afternoon, over 70 third-party plugins are finally being rolled out to ChatGPT Plus users.

“We’re rolling out web browsing and Plugins to all ChatGPT Plus users over the next week!” OpenAI announced in a tweet. “Moving from alpha to beta, they allow ChatGPT to access the internet and to use 70+ third-party plugins.”

The plugins should automatically activate upon subscribing to ChatGPT Plus and can be found under “Beta Features” in a user’s settings. The service costs $20 a month and allows users to utilize OpenAI’s ChatGPT-4 model, a significantly better, but still flawed, upgrade over ChatGPT-3. Plus subscribers will have access to over 70+ third-party plugins. These can parse through website content, visualize and analyze data, and even help you learn foreign languages.

Users can install as many plugins as they want, but are only allowed to use three at a time. The plugins cover a range of industries and business ventures including shopping, real estate, stocks, travel, and food. For example, one plugin, “ndricks Sports,” finds and compiles relevant sports news and information.

Screenshot of ChatGPT

Plugins like “ndricks Sports” will find the news for you so you don’t have to.
Credit: OpenAI

Screenshot of ChatGPT

Being reminded the 76ers are still in the playoffs is not relevant information for the Detroit Pistons.
Credit: OpenAI

Other plugins like, “AskYourPDF,” and “ChatWithPDF,” allow users to provide a URL of a PDF document for ChatGPT to parse through. However, these plugins are very particular about what URLs it can and cannot accept, and this one does not accept local files from your computer.

Screenshot of ChatGPT

Good luck finding PDFs that work with ChatGPT.
Credit: OpenAI

ChatGPT-plugins are still in beta and it shows. I pointed out the “ndricks Sports” plugin earlier, and while the information it provided me is accurate, the sources it gave me don’t actually link back to wherever ChatGPT got that information. Or in some cases like with “ChatWithPDF,” the plugin just straight up did not work at the time I tried it.

Regardless, the implementation of plugins represents a radical shift in the capabilities of ChatGPT, especially in the wake of Google Bard getting a massive multimodal upgrade. The consequences of giving generative AI the ability to access the internet are yet to be seen in full, but you can’t say the progress of these machines isn’t at least a bit exciting.





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