ChatGPT kicked off the current AI hype train, and Microsoft has partnered with (and invested in) its developer OpenAI for the creation of Bing Chat and Copilot features. Now, both chatbots are becoming even more similar.
Microsoft announced earlier in May that it was adding third-party plugins to Bing Chat, which would allow Bing to perform actions and check data that may not be possible through regular web searches. Microsoft’s example was using Bing Chat to research restaurants in an area, and then find and book a reservation with an OpenTable plugin. The plugin feature looked a lot like ChatGPT’s plugins, which were revealed in March and recently started rolling out for ChatGPT Plus.
Microsoft already confirmed it was working with OpenAI to develop Bing Chat plugins, but this week at Microsoft Build, it was confirmed that ChatGPT plugins and Bing Chat plugins will essentially be the same thing. A blog post explains, “Microsoft and OpenAI are jointly committing to support and grow the AI plugins ecosystem by embracing interoperability. This means developers can now use one platform to build and submit plugins that work across both consumer and business surfaces, including ChatGPT, Bing, Dynamics 365 Copilot, Microsoft 365 Copilot, and Windows Copilot.”
That should mean that Bing Chat and ChatGPT will have the same library of plugins available, at least whenever the feature is ready for a wide rollout. ChatGPT currently has plugins that can connect to Expedia, Instacart, OpenTable, Wolfram Alpha, and Zapier to name a few. Some developers might choose to only submit their plugins to one chatbot or the other, but it’s too early to tell how that will play out.
Microsoft also announced that Bing is the new default search experience for ChatGPT, which might eliminate the need to use ChatGPT’s own web browser plugin. The feature makes ChatGPT much closer to Bing Chat, with the ability to supplement its own learning model with newer data from the web. You can also turn Bing searching off, in case you don’t want web results to interfere with responses.
Microsoft says that Bing Chat and the Edge sidebar will have access to plugins “in the coming weeks.” Bing search for ChatGPT is rolling out now to ChatGPT Plus subscribers, and will be available as a plugin for free users “soon.”
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