- In a blog post on July 4, 2023, a customer support specialist at OpenAI, the developer of ChatGPT, announced that the “Browse with Bing” beta feature of the AI chatbot has been disabled temporarily.
- ChatGPT’s “Browse with Bing” feature is a plugin that allows ChatGPT to access the internet and provide more accurate and up-to-date answers to user questions.
- In a tweet, OpenAI said that the “Browse with Bing” feature was occasionally displaying content in ways that OpenAI did not want; this is why the ChatGPT developer decided to disable the feature while it works to fix the issue.
In a blog post on July 4, 2023, Michael Schade, a customer support specialist at OpenAI, the developer of ChatGPT, announced that the “Browse with Bing” beta feature of the AI chatbot has been disabled temporarily.
“As of July 3, 2023, we’ve disabled the Browse with Bing beta feature out of an abundance of caution while we fix this in order to do right by content owners. We are working to bring the beta back as quickly as possible, and appreciate your understanding!” the executive announced.
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Understanding ChatGPT’s ‘Browse with Bing’ Feature
First introduced in February, ChatGPT’s “Browse with Bing” feature is a plugin that allows ChatGPT to access the internet and provide more accurate and up-to-date answers to prompts. It uses the Bing Search API to find relevant information from the web and display it to the user along with the sources.
Basically, when a ChatGPT Plus subscriber asks the chatbot a question that requires recent information, ChatGPT uses the “Browse with Bing” feature to search Bing for the answer to the question. ChatGPT then returns the most relevant information from Bing to the user.
This feature helps ChatGPT users effectively by enhancing the chatbot’s capabilities and answering questions that require more than just the information that it has been trained on. It also makes the process transparent, so users can see how ChatGPT forms its answers and verify the information.
Why Did ChatGPT Disable the ‘Browse with Bing’ Feature?
In a tweet, OpenAI said that the “Browse with Bing” feature was occasionally displaying content in ways that OpenAI did not want; this is why the ChatGPT developer decided to disable the feature while it works to fix the issue.
For example, if a user specifically asked for the full text of a URL that requires a subscription fee, ChatGPT would respond with the complete text, bypassing paywalls and privacy settings, which could have copyright and privacy implications.
The feature could also be used to collect personal data from users without their consent and to spread misinformation or propaganda.
In the meantime, ChatGPT Plus subscribers can still access recent information by using the GPT-4 Plugin Store to install the “Bing Search” plugin. This plugin allows ChatGPT to search Bing for information, but it does not allow ChatGPT to bypass paywalls or privacy settings.
Impacts on User Experience and AI Development
While the feature became helpful for questions that required up-to-date information, OpenAI’s move will surely lead to a less satisfying user experience.
However, we may realize that OpenAI only took action to address the ethical and legal issues raised by the feature and to protect the privacy and rights of content creators and publishers.
This is a great victory for the development of AI in today’s era, as it provided an opportunity for OpenAI, and even other AI tool creators, to learn from the feedback and data collected during the beta period and to improve the feature by adding safeguards and limitations to prevent misuse.
Industry Reactions to the Feature Change
Though some ChatGPT users expressed their dismay over the temporary disablement, more users showed their support to the developer once the issue with the “Browse with Bing” feature was solved.
Even the professional account of The Grapevine, a non-government organization that fights against child trafficking, expressed that the NGO will wait for the feature’s stronger comeback as they use it for research purposes.
Future of ChatGPT: What’s Next After the Disabling ‘Browse with Bing’?
Of course, it is expected for OpenAI to re-enable the “Browse with Bing” feature with the necessary changes and improvements to ensure its safety and alignment with human values, as it has a lot of potential to provide users with more accurate and up-to-date answers.
But in line with the current issue, OpenAI could also consider developing new features that would allow ChatGPT to access more recent information without bypassing paywalls or privacy settings. For instance, OpenAI could develop a feature that allows ChatGPT to access the abstracts of paid articles. This would allow ChatGPT to provide users with a summary of the article without requiring them to pay for the full text.
Though we do not surely know what the next steps will be for the developers of ChatGPT, we are hoping for a better outcome as it is known to be the leading chatbot today, which will surely affect the whole generative AI industry.
For you, did OpenAI make the right move?
This article is published on BitPinas: Why Did ChatGPT Disable the ‘Browse with Bing’ Feature?
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