OpenAI posted today that ChatGPT can once more trawl the web for current information, offering answers taken directly from “current and authoritative” sources, which it cites in its responses. The feature, called Browse with Bing, is only open to those with Plus and Enterprise subscriptions for now, but the company says it will roll it out “to all users soon.”
Microsoft’s Bing Chat on Windows, in the Edge browser, and in third-party browser plugins could already return live information from the web, and so can Google’s Bard in Chrome and other browsers. Both also offer links when searching, as ChatGPT’s Browse with Bing feature now does. Meta just announced at Meta Connect that it will also use Bing to power real-time web results in the Meta AI Assistant it’s adding to WhatsApp, Instagram, and Messenger.
It’s a little confusing to get ChatGPT to search the web for you. The company provides instructions for the browser version, but I didn’t find the same for the iOS app. I figured it out, though. Assuming you have a subscription, it’s: three dots menu > Settings > New Features > Browse with Bing. Then, start a new chat, tap GPT-4, and “Browse with Bing.” Then your searches should return information from current websites.
It’s a little slow, but it works. And when it answers a question for you, you can click the link to the site to compare the answers. Now I know that, according to MediaMass — a website I’ve never heard of — AC/DC might be working on a new album! Given AI bots’ tendency to hallucinate, being able to check them on their sources is a huge improvement that not only means you can actually verify they’re not lying to you, but also, it’s just nice to give credit where it’s due.
OpenAI added the ability to browse the internet within its ChatGPT iOS app in late June but quickly pulled it. Users had figured out they could coax the chatbot into giving them otherwise paywalled content by feeding a URL directly to it. Since then, OpenAI’s automated crawler that feeds information to the model powering ChatGPT has begun identifying itself with a user agent so that sites can filter themselves out of its analysis with updates to their Robots.txt file forbidding it.
If you subscribe to one of OpenAI’s plans and want to try out the Browse with Bing feature, here are the company’s instructions:
Click on ‘Profile & Settings’
Select ‘Beta features’
Toggle on ‘Browse with Bing’
Choose Browse with Bing in the selector under GPT-4.