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I finally found a good reason to upgrade to ChatGPT Plus


ChatGPT is freely available online directly from OpenAI. You don’t need to install any third-party app, and you certainly don’t have to pay for third-party apps that promise premium access. The free version of ChatGPT should be fine to get you started. But OpenAI also sells a ChatGPT Plus subscription that costs $20 per month.

I am not currently a subscriber, but have been thinking about it for quite some time. Two things prevented me from getting it: ChatGPT’s early privacy practices and its inability to connect to the live web. The latter is actually the main reason I wouldn’t want to pay for premium access. But now, Microsoft and OpenAI finally solved this big question.

The best reason to upgrade to ChatGPT Plus

As I have explained several times, ChatGPT Plus is the only OpenAI product that offers access to the latest features of the company. And the most important ChatGPT upgrade to date is GPT-4. It is not better than the free version GPT-3.5, it also supports multi-mode. That means you can include other content in your conversations with artificial intelligence as well as text cues, such as images.

However, GPT-4 access is not free, and understandably so. Paying $20 per month for ChatGPT Plus seems pointless if you want to use GPT-4 capabilities and AI generation products frequently.

Until I get there, Bing Chat will do. Microsoft’s AI chat app runs on GPT-4, after all. And Microsoft offers free access without even requiring you to log in to a Microsoft account. Then there is Google Bard, which is connected to the live internet through Google Search.

This brings me to the privacy aspect of AI generation products.

ChatGPT privacy settings: Enabling data collection. Image source: Chris Smith, BGR

OpenAI’s ChatGPT privacy challenge

The problem with products like ChatGPT is that they collect a lot of data. The companies use that conversation data to further train their models. And it can be a privacy nightmare. Recently, OpenAI finally added settings to ChatGPT that allow you to opt out of data collection.

That’s a feature I’m waiting for, but it’s not quite where it should be. For the time being, you cannot retain your chat history if you choose to opt out of data collection. That’s something OpenAI should offer. And something I would be willing to pay for in a future version of ChatGPT Plus.

OpenAI isn’t the only generative AI company struggling with privacy. Remember that Google left the entire European Union out when it opened Bard to the world. Strong European privacy rules are to blame.

ChatGPT Plus supports various plugins that connect it to the internet.
ChatGPT Plus supports various plugins that connect it to the internet. Image source: Microsoft

ChatGPT Plus can finally access the internet

ChatGPT Plus gives you faster access to AI generation, even when many people are logging into the service. And it features the latest OpenAI innovations. However, until this week, ChatGPT Plus only worked with old data.

OpenAI fed ChatGPT internet data up to September 2021, and that was the chatbot’s biggest problem. The free version does not have access to current content. GPT-4 had the same limitation until recently, as OpenAI brought add-ons to the premium version. But it was not yet a full access to the web, as Google’s Bard AI has.

Microsoft gives ChatGPT Plus subscribers access to Bing Search.
Microsoft gives ChatGPT Plus subscribers access to Bing Search. Image source: Microsoft

Fast forward to Microsoft’s Build 2023 event this week, and Microsoft announced that ChatGPT Plus will include direct access to the internet through Bing Search. That’s a huge upgrade for ChatGPT and a good reason to upgrade to the paid ChatGPT Plus plan.

Combine the plugins recently released OpenAI with Microsofts Bing Search for internet access, and ChatGPT Plus should be a much better AI generation tool.

Bing Search integration with the free version of ChatGPT will come in the future, as Microsoft said earlier this week:

ChatGPT will now have a built-in state-of-the-art search engine to provide more timely and up-to-date answers accessible from the web. Now, ChatGPT answers can be based on search and web data and include citations so you can learn more – all directly from the conversation. The new experience is rolling out to ChatGPT Plus subscribers starting today and will soon be available to users for free by enabling an add-on that brings Bing to ChatGPT.

For the time being, ChatGPT Plus gets you access to GPT-4, so the subscription could definitely come in handy.

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