The inevitable monthly subscription for ChatGPT is a step closer following the introduction of a trial ‘ChatGPT Plus’ service in the US priced at $20 (circa £16) per month.
Just The US For Now
OpenAI say that the new ChatGPT Plus service is just available to customers in the United States but will be made available by invite over the coming weeks to other people from its “waitlist.” This is the list of people and businesses that have completed a (Google) form to express an interest (the waitlist form can be found here).
OpenAI’s as-yet limited information about ChatGPT Plus says that the £16 subscription benefits include:
– General access to ChatGPT, even during peak times.
– Faster response times.
– Priority access to new features and improvements.
Subscription Will Support Free Access For Others
On an optimistic note, OpenAI says that it will “continue to offer free access to ChatGPT” and that “by offering this subscription pricing, we will be able to help support free access availability to as many people as possible.”
Although ChatGPT has gained huge traction with well over a hundred million users now (setting a record) and gained global publicity by being the first to introduce such an advanced free AI chatbot, other big tech companies are now reported to be hot on its heels with their versions. For example, Google already has its family of conversational neural language models known as LaMDA. It is also reported to have been working on a project called ‘Atlas’ to challenge ChatGPT, and Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, has just announced that it will soon be releasing its own ChatGPT-like chatbot called ‘Bard’ (shortened from ‘Apprentice Bard’) which uses LaMDA. It’s been reported that Bard is very similar to ChatGPT in that a question is posed via in a dialog box, a text answer is given, then the user (it’s currently being tested by Google employees), can give feedback on the response.
The Future Of Search Engines?
The capabilities of ChatGPT have led many to speculate whether this type of chatbot technology could soon be incorporated into (or replace) the current format of search engines. It has been reported, for example, that Google is already testing an alternate search page that could use a question-and-answer format. Some ways that AI-powered chatbots could change the search engine landscape could include:
– Conversational search. AI-powered chatbots could provide users with a more natural and conversational way of searching for information. Users could interact with chatbots in a conversational manner, asking questions and receiving answers, rather than having to type keywords into a search box.
– Personalised results. AI chatbots could personalize search results based on a user’s history, preferences, and context. This could lead to more relevant and targeted results, improving the overall search experience.
– Improved speed and accuracy. AI chatbots could process large amounts of information in real-time, providing users with quick and accurate answers to their queries. This could lead to a faster and more efficient search experience.
– New search applications. AI chatbots could be integrated into a variety of new applications and services, such as voice assistants, messaging platforms, and customer service systems. This could expand the reach and impact of search beyond traditional search engines.
One Answer Rather Than Pages Of Links
AI-powered chatbots could, therefore, have the potential to transform the way people search for information, providing a more natural, personalised, and efficient search experience. It is likely that the ability of powerful chatbots to gather information from multiple sources and give a distilled answer to user questions will replace the current format of search engine results. For example, by incorporating AI chatbots like ChatGPT (or more likely Bard), instead of delivering pages of web links in answer to search engine queries, users may be given one definitive answer, thereby making searches quicker with easier to digest answers.
What Does This Mean For Your Business?
There’s no doubting the value-adding, time and cost saving power and capabilities of OpenAI’s ChatGPT. It was always the case that since its low-key introduction in November, we’ve all been part of this first reciprocal mass testing and training exercise that’s advanced its capabilities in return for which, businesses have gained a free, innovative, multi-purpose business tool. It was inevitable, however, that subscriptions and paid versions with extras would follow but for the time being, the ‘Plus’ version is just being trialled and OpenAI says it will keep a free version available anyway. Although OpenAI now has a substantial head start in the market with this type of advanced chatbot, it looks like it may not be too long before competitors such as Google introduce their own versions.