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OpenAI disables 'Browse with Bing' feature within a week of its rollout: Here's why?

OpenAI announced that it has disabled the feature after it discovered instants where ChatGPT didn’t perform as per expectations of the company.

Edited By: Om Gupta

Published: Jul 05, 2023, 01:59 PM IST

OpenAI's ChatGPT is now up to date.
OpenAI's ChatGPT is now up to date.

Story Highlights

  • OpenAI said that Browse with Bing feature will not be available starting July 3, 2023.
  • OpenAI discovered instants where ChatGPT didn’t perform as per expectations.
  • OpenAI is yet to announce when it will restore the feature.

OpenAI recently rolled out a new feature in the ChatGPT app called Browsing. The new feature was dubbed Browse with Bing, which enabled ChatGPT app to search the web with Bing for information on events that exceed its training data. Before the rollout of this feature, ChatGPT’s knowledge was limited to September 2021.

However, within a week of its rollout, OpenAI announced that it has disabled the feature after it discovered instants where ChatGPT didn’t perform as per expectations of the company. In a particular instant, ChatGPT displayed information to users bypassing paywalls.

What is Paywall?

Many publication websites use paywalls to stop users from getting free access to information on their websites and to make users subscribe to the website. But some users found a new way to bypass the paywall with the help of ChatGPT, which enabled users to access information that was only available to paid subscribers.

For instance, when users asked for a URL’s full text from ChatGPT, it obliges and provides the user with information that is exclusive to paid subscribers.

“We have learned that the ChatGPT Browse beta can occasionally display content in ways we don’t want. For example, if a user specifically asks for a URL’s full text, it might inadvertently fulfill this request,” OpenAI’s Michael Schade said in a statement.

After taking note of this, OpenAI has decided to disable the feature and it is not available to users starting July 3, 2023.

“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!” Michael said.

During the hearing before a US Congress panel, OpenAI’s CEO Sam Altman said, “I think if this technology goes wrong, it can go quite wrong” and this could be a perfect example of it.

It is still unclear when OpenAI will restore the feature and what configuration changes it will make on the platform to prevent this from occurring again.

Browse with Bing was available to subscribers of ChatGPT Plus, which is a paid version of the ChatGPT app. According to OpenAI, this feature was useful for queries that exceed ChatGPT’s original training data such as current events and other information. When Browsing is disabled, ChatGPT’s knowledge ends in 2021.

“Plus users can now use Browsing to get comprehensive answers and current insights on events and information that extend beyond the model’s original training data,” as per ChatGPT release notes at the time of the release of the feature. 

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Author Name | Om Gupta

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