OpenAI has recently unveiled an update to its premium AI-powered chatbot, ChatGPT Plus, allowing users to browse the web using the newly introduced Browsing feature. However, this functionality is limited exclusively to Microsoft’s search engine, Bing. While the update enhances ChatGPT’s research capabilities, concerns have been raised about the restriction to a single search engine.
To utilize the Browsing feature, ChatGPT Plus subscribers can access the app’s settings and navigate to the New Features section. From there, they can select “GPT-4” in the model switcher and choose “Browse with Bing” from the drop-down list. This feature is available on both iOS and Android versions of the ChatGPT app.
OpenAI emphasizes that Browsing via Bing proves particularly useful for answering queries related to current events and other subjects beyond the training data of ChatGPT, which had a knowledge cutoff in 2021. The introduction of Browsing addresses the limitations of ChatGPT’s pre-existing knowledge and enables users to access more up-to-date information.
However, the decision to exclusively integrate Bing as the sole search engine for ChatGPT’s Browsing feature has faced criticism. While the collaboration between OpenAI and Microsoft is well-known, with Microsoft having invested over $10 billion in OpenAI, restricting users to a single search engine raises concerns about user choice and potential bias.
In the past, Bing has faced accusations of favoring Microsoft-related results over those from other sources. A study conducted by Stanford highlighted concerns about disinformation within Bing’s top search results. While Microsoft continues to refine Bing’s algorithms, limiting ChatGPT users to Bing’s search results may raise questions about the objectivity and comprehensiveness of the information provided.
Critics argue that a more inclusive approach, enabling users to choose among various search engines, would offer a more comprehensive and unbiased research experience. The reliance on Bing as the sole search engine in ChatGPT’s Browsing feature leaves users without alternative options when Bing falls short.
Amidst these concerns, OpenAI has also introduced an additional feature to the ChatGPT app. Tapping on a search result now directly navigates users to the relevant part of the conversation. This change, combined with the introduction of Browsing, aims to enhance the user experience and streamline information access.
OpenAI has not commented on the possibility of integrating additional search engines or expanding the choices available for users. As the partnership between OpenAI and Microsoft deepens, the decision to rely solely on Bing may continue to generate discussions about user autonomy and the diversity of information sources.
The recent updates to the ChatGPT app, particularly the Browsing feature, demonstrate OpenAI’s commitment to refining and expanding its AI capabilities. However, striking a balance between seamless integration with a partner’s search engine and ensuring user freedom of choice remains an ongoing challenge for the AI chatbot.