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OpenAI today announced its support of new third-party plugins for ChatGPT, and it already has Twitter buzzing about the company’s potential platform play.
In a blog post, the company stated that the plugins are “tools designed specifically for language models with safety as a core principle, and help ChatGPT access up-to-date information, run computations, or use third-party services.”
A sign of OpenAI’s accelerating dominance
The announcement was quickly received by the public as a signal of OpenAI‘s ambitions to further its dominance by turning ChatGPT into a developer platform.
“OpenAI is seeing ChatGPT as a platform play,” tweeted Marco Mascorro, cofounder of Fellow AI.
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And @gregmushen tweeted: “I think the introduction of plugins to ChatGPT is a threat to the App Store. It creates a new platform with new monetization methods.”
In sharing the announcement, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman tweeted: “We are starting our rollout of ChatGPT plugins. you can install plugins to help with a wide variety of tasks. we are excited to see what developers create!”
OpenAI, he said, is offering a web browsing plugin and a code execution plugin. He added that the company is open-sourcing the code for a retrieval plugin.
The plugins, he said, are “very experimental still,” but maintained that “we think there’s something great in this direction; it’s been a heavily requested feature.”
ChatGPT plugins: Major milestone in development of AI chat
OpenAI announced that plugin developers who have been invited off the company’s waitlist can use its documentation to build a plugin for ChatGPT. The first plugins have already been created by companies including Expedia, Instacart, Kayak, OpenTable and Zapier.
According to Expedia, their new plugin simplifies trip planning for ChatGPT users. “Until now, ChatGPT could identify what to do and where to stay, but it couldn’t help travelers shop and book,” said a press representative in an email.
Now, once a traveler enables the Expedia plugin, they can bring a trip itinerary created through a conversation with ChatGPT “to life” with information powered by Expedia’s travel data including real-time availability and pricing of flights, hotels, vacation rentals, activities and car rentals. When ready to book, they’ll be sent to Expedia, where they can log in to see options personalized to what they prefer, as well as member discounts, loyalty rewards and more.
The update represents a major milestone in the development of AI chat as a platform for accessing and interacting with the internet. ChatGPT is not only providing a service, it is creating an ecosystem where developers can create and distribute their own plugins for the benefit of users. This is similar to how Apple’s App Store revolutionized the mobile industry by allowing third-party apps to flourish on its devices. ChatGPT’s plugin feature could potentially open up new possibilities and markets for AI chat in the future.
OpenAI said they would begin extending plugin alpha access to users and developers from its waitlist and plan to roll out larger-scale access “over time.”