ChatGPT’s Web Browsing Return: High Hopes, Bitter Realities

A while back, ChatGPT had to pull the plug on its networking feature. The reason? It was bypassing paywalls on certain websites. But now, it’s back in action, albeit through external plugins.

I was buzzing with excitement when I stumbled upon OpenAI’s official Twitter feed, with bloggers raving about this being a significant upgrade for ChatGPT. Naturally, I had to give it a whirl.

The Good: I kicked things off by asking ChatGPT to identify the author of an article on OpenAI’s official blog. And voila! In a mere two seconds, it shot back with an answer, complete with a citation. Impressive, right?

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The Not-So-Good: Feeling optimistic, I upped the ante. I tasked it with collating specs of the Huawei Mate 60 Pro from various sources and presenting them in a neat table. The result is merely a bullet-pointed list from a single website. Not quite what I had in mind.

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In contrast, WebPilot, a ChatGPT plugin, delivered a comprehensive table.

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Another plugin, Keymate.AI Search, outdid itself by listing three sources and even nudged me to check Huawei’s official site for the most accurate info.

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The Downright Disappointing: I then revisited a task from a previous post: extracting contact details from five websites mentioned in a blog. It’s no walk in the park. You’ve got to locate the websites, fetch their URLs, and then scout for contact details.

Some sites flaunt it on their homepage, while others tuck it away in a ‘Contact Us’ or ‘About Us’ section.

ChatGPT managed to dig up a contact for me, but then it seemed to play coy. When I prodded it to carry on, it assured me it’d take just a few minutes to compile everything and then give me a heads-up.

Now, call me an old hand. I was skeptical about this promised notification. And, as the minutes ticked by, my doubts seemed justified. Even after a good ten minutes, when I nudged ChatGPT again, it claimed to be “still processing.” It felt like an endless loop. Out of sheer caution, I peeked into the Google email linked to my ChatGPT account. No surprises there—zilch. Looks like my hunch was spot on.

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But I was able to get some results with the WebPilot plugin.

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Final Thoughts: If you’re in it for some light-hearted fun, give OpenAI’s “major update” a go. But if you mean business, you might want to explore other avenues.

Free ChatGPT users, there’s a handy Google Chrome plugin I’ve touched upon in a previous post.

👉 How to Enable Internet Connectivity for Your ChatGPT

As for ChatGPT Plus aficionados, give the ChatGPT plugins a shot.

👉 Best ChatGPT Plugins for Web Browsing [with Demonstrations]

While this update didn’t quite hit the mark for me, it’s essential to remember that OpenAI isn’t a magic wand. If it were, the brilliant minds behind the ChatGPT plugins would be out of a job.

Think about it: tailoring ChatGPT to cater to every user’s unique information needs, especially for intricate multi-step searches, is no mean feat. Maybe, just maybe, there are realms where AI can’t quite match up to human prowess. And that’s perfectly okay.

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