ChatGPT, OpenAI’s text-generating AI system, has taken the world by storm. It’s able to write essays, code and more given short text prompts, hyper-charging productivity. But it also has a more…nefarious side.
In any case, the tech’s not going away — and indeed has expanded dramatically since its launch just a few months ago. Major brands are experimenting with it, using the AI to generate ad and marketing copy, for example.
And OpenAI is heavily investing in it. ChatGPT was recently super-charged by GPT-4, the latest language-writing model from OpenAI’s labs. Paying ChatGPT users have access to GPT-4, which can write more naturally and fluently than the model that previously powered ChatGPT.
Here’s a timeline of ChatGPT product updates and releases, starting with the latest, to be updated regularly. We also answer the most common FAQs (see below).
Timeline of the most recent ChatGPT updates
March 23, 2023
OpenAI connects ChatGPT to the internet
OpenAI launched plugins for ChatGPT, extending the bots functionality by granting it access to third-party knowledge soruces and databases, including the web. Available in alpha to ChatGPT users and developers on the waitlist, OpenAI says that it’ll initially prioritize a small number of developers and subscribers to its premium ChatGPT Plus plan before rolling out larger-scale and API access.
March 14, 2023
OpenAI launches GPT-4, available through ChatGPT Plus
GPT-4 is a powerful image- and text-understanding AI model from OpenAI. Released March 14, GPT-4 is available for paying ChatGPT Plus users and through a public API. Developers can sign up on a waitlist to access the API.
March 9, 2023
ChatGPT is available in Azure OpenAI service
ChatGPT is generally available through the Azure OpenAI Service, Microsoft’s fully managed, corporate-focused offering. Customers, who must already be “Microsoft managed customers and partners,” can apply here for special access.
March 1, 2023
OpenAI launches an API for ChatGPT
OpenAI makes another move toward monetization by launching a paid API for ChatGPT. Instacart, Snap (Snapchat’s parent company) and Quizlet are among its initial customers.
February 7, 2023
Microsoft launches the new Bing, with ChatGPT built in
At a press event in Redmond, Washington, Microsoft announced its long-rumored integration of OpenAI’s GPT-4 model into Bing, providing a ChatGPT-like experience within the search engine. The announcement spurred a 10x increase in new downloads for Bing globally, indicating a sizable consumer demand for new AI experiences.
Other companies beyond Microsoft joined in on the AI craze by implementing ChatGPT, including OkCupid, Kaito, Snapchat and Discord — putting the pressure on Big Tech’s AI initiatives, like Google.
February 1, 2023
OpenAI launches ChatGPT Plus, starting at $20 per month
After ChatGPT took the internet by storm, OpenAI launched a new pilot subscription plan for ChatGPT called ChatGPT Plus, aiming to monetize the technology starting at $20 per month.
December 8, 2022
ShareGPT lets you easily share your ChatGPT conversations
A week after ChatGPT was released into the wild, two developers — Steven Tey and Dom Eccleston — made a Chrome extension called ShareGPT to make it easier to capture and share the AI’s answers with the world.
November 30, 2022
ChatGPT first launched to the public as OpenAI quietly released GPT-3.5
GPT-3.5 broke cover with ChatGPT, a fine-tuned version of GPT-3.5 that’s essentially a general-purpose chatbot. ChatGPT can engage with a range of topics, including programming, TV scripts and scientific concepts.
Writers everywhere rolled their eyes at the new technology, much like artists did with OpenAI’s DALL-E model, but the latest chat-style iteration seemingly broadened its appeal and audience.
What is ChatGPT?
ChatGPT is a general-purpose chatbot that uses AI to generate text after a user enters a prompt.
When did ChatGPT get released?
November 30, 2022 is when ChatGPT was released for public use.
Is ChatGPT free?
There is a free version of ChatGPT that only requires a sign-in in addition to the paid version, ChatGPT Plus.
Who uses ChatGPT?
Anyone can use ChatGPT! More and more tech companies and search engines are utilizing the chatbot to automate text or quickly answer user questions/concerns.
Can ChatGPT write essays?
Does ChatGPT have an app?
There is not an app available for iPhone or Android, but users have options to enable the chatbot on their mobile devices via their browser or a third-party app that uses ChatGPT’s public API.
What is the ChatGPT character limit?
It’s not documented anywhere that ChatGPT has a character limit. However, users have noted that there are some character limitations after around 500 words.
Does ChatGPT have an API?
Yes, it was released March 1, 2023.
What are some sample everyday uses for ChatGPT?
Everyday examples include programing, scripts, email replies, listicles, blog ideas, summarization, etc.
What are some advanced uses for ChatGPT?
Advanced use examples include debugging code, programming languages, scientific concepts, complex problem solving, etc.
How good is ChatGPT at writing code?
It depends on the nature of the program. While ChatGPT can write workable Python code, it can’t necessarily program an entire app’s worth of code. That’s because ChatGPT lacks context awareness — in other words, the generated code isn’t always appropriate for the specific context in which it’s being used.
Can you save a ChatGPT chat?
Yes. OpenAI allows users to save chats in the ChatGPT interface, stored in the sidebar of the screen. There are no built-in sharing features yet.
Are there alternatives to ChatGPT?
Yes. There are multiple AI-powered chatbot competitors such as Together, Google’s Bard and Anthropic’s Claude, and developers are creating open source alternatives. But the latter are harder — if not impossible — to run today.
What controversies have surrounded ChatGPT? (mention Red Ventures, etc.)
CNET found itself in the midst of controversy after Futurism reported the publication was publishing articles under a mysterious byline completely generated by AI. The private equity company that owns CNET, Red Ventures, was accused of using ChatGPT for SEO farming, even if the information was incorrect.
Several major school systems and colleges, including New York City Public Schools, have banned ChatGPT from their networks and devices. They claim that the AI impedes the learning process by promoting plagiarism and misinformation, a claim that not every educator agrees with.
Where can I find examples of ChatGPT prompts?
Several marketplaces host and provide ChatGPT prompts, either for free or for a nominal fee. One is PromptBase. Another is ChatX. More launch every day.
Can ChatGPT be detected?
Poorly. Several tools claim to detect ChatGPT-generated text, but in our tests, they’re inconsistent at best.
Are ChatGPT chats public?
No. But OpenAI recently disclosed a bug, since fixed, that exposed the titles of some users’ conversations to other people on the service.
Who owns the copyright on ChatGPT-created content or media?
The user who requested the input from ChatGPT is the copyright owner.
What lawsuits are there surrounding ChatGPT?
None specifically targeting ChatGPT. But OpenAI is involved in at least one lawsuit that has implications for AI systems trained on publicly available data, which would touch on ChatGPT.
Are there issues regarding plagiarism with ChatGPT?
Yes. Text-generating AI models like ChatGPT have a tendency to regurgitate content from their training data.