ChatGPT, OpenAI’s text-generating AI chatbot, 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, AI tools are 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. In addition to GPT-4, OpenAI recently connected ChatGPT to the internet with plugins available in alpha to users and developers on the waitlist.
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
August 10, 2023
The ‘custom instructions’ feature is extended to free ChatGPT users
OpenAI announced that it’s expanding custom instructions to all users including those on the free tier of service. The feature allows users to add various preferences and requirements that they want the AI chatbot to consider when responding.
August 1, 2023
China requires AI apps to obtain an administrative license
Multiple generative AI apps have been removed from Apple’s China App Store ahead of the country’s latest generative AI regulations that are set to take effect August 15.
“As you may know, the government has been tightening regulations associated with deep synthesis technologies (DST) and generative AI services, including ChatGPT. DST must fulfill permitting requirements to operate in China, including securing a license from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT),” Apple said in a letter to OpenCat, a native ChatGPT client. “Based on our review, your app is associated with ChatGPT, which does not have requisite permits to operate in China.”
July 25, 2023
ChatGPT for Android is now available in the US, India, Bangladesh and Brazil
A few days after putting up a preorder page on Google Play, OpenAI has flipped the switch and released ChatGPT for Android. The app is now live in a handful of countries.
July 21, 2023
ChatGPT is coming to Android
ChatGPT is available to “pre-order” for Android users.
The ChatGPT app on Android looks to be more or less identical to the iOS one in functionality, meaning it gets most if not all of the web-based version’s features. You should be able to sync your conversations and preferences across devices, too — so if you’re iPhone at home and Android at work, no worries.
July 20, 2023
OpenAI launches customized instructions for ChatGPT
OpenAI launched custom instructions for ChatGPT users, so they don’t have to write the same instruction prompts to the chatbot every time they interact with it.
The company said this feature lets you “share anything you’d like ChatGPT to consider in its response.” For example, a teacher can say they are teaching fourth-grade math or a developer can specify the code language they prefer when asking for suggestions. A person can also specify their family size, so the text-generating AI can give responses about meals, grocery and vacation planning accordingly.
July 13, 2023
The FTC is reportedly investigating OpenAI
The FTC is reportedly in at least the exploratory phase of investigation over whether OpenAI’s flagship ChatGPT conversational AI made “false, misleading, disparaging or harmful” statements about people.
TechCrunch Reporter Devin Coldewey reports:
This kind of investigation doesn’t just appear out of thin air — the FTC doesn’t look around and say “That looks suspicious.” Generally a lawsuit or formal complaint is brought to their attention and the practices described by it imply that regulations are being ignored. For example, a person may sue a supplement company because the pills made them sick, and the FTC will launch an investigation on the back of that because there’s evidence the company lied about the side effects.
July 6, 2023
OpenAI announced the general availability of GPT-4
Starting July 6, all existing OpenAI developers “with a history of successful payments” can access GPT-4. OpenAI plans to open up access to new developers by the end of July.
In the future, OpenAI says that it’ll allow developers to fine-tune GPT-4 and GPT-3.5 Turbo, one of the original models powering ChatGPT, with their own data, as has long been possible with several of OpenAI’s other text-generating models. That capability should arrive later this year, according to OpenAI.
June 28, 2023
ChatGPT app can now search the web only on Bing
OpenAI announced that subscribers to ChatGPT Plus can now use a new feature on the app called Browsing, which allows ChatGPT to search Bing for answers to questions.
The Browsing feature can be enabled by heading to the New Features section of the app settings, selecting “GPT-4” in the model switcher and choosing “Browse with Bing” from the drop-down list. Browsing is available on both the iOS and Android ChatGPT apps.
June 15, 2023
Mercedes is adding ChatGPT to its infotainment system
U.S. owners of Mercedes models that use MBUX will be able to opt into a beta program starting June 16 activating the ChatGPT functionality. This will enable the highly versatile large language model to augment the car’s conversation skills. You can join up simply by telling your car “Hey Mercedes, I want to join the beta program.”
It’s not really clear what for, though.
June 8, 2023
ChatGPT app is now available on iPad, adds support for Siri and Shortcuts
The new ChatGPT app version brings native iPad support to the app, as well as support for using the chatbot with Siri and Shortcuts. Drag and drop is also now available, allowing users to drag individual messages from ChatGPT into other apps.
On iPad, ChatGPT now runs in full-screen mode, optimized for the tablet’s interface.
May 30, 2023
Texas judge orders all AI-generated content must be declared and checked
The Texas federal judge has added a requirement that any attorney appearing in his court must attest that “no portion of the filing was drafted by generative artificial intelligence,” or if it was, that it was checked “by a human being.”
May 26, 2023
ChatGPT app expanded to more than 30 countries
The list of new countries includes Algeria, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Estonia, Ghana, India, Iraq, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Lithuania, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Morocco, Namibia, Nauru, Oman, Pakistan, Peru, Poland, Qatar, Slovenia, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates.
May 25, 2023
ChatGPT app is now available in 11 more countries
OpenAI announced in a tweet that the ChatGPT mobile app is now available on iOS in the U.S., Europe, South Korea and New Zealand, and soon more will be able to download the app from the app store. In just six days, the app topped 500,000 downloads.
The ChatGPT app for iOS is now available to users in 11 more countries — Albania, Croatia, France, Germany, Ireland, Jamaica, Korea, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, and the UK. More to come soon!
— OpenAI (@OpenAI) May 24, 2023
May 18, 2023
OpenAI launches a ChatGPT app for iOS
ChatGPT is officially going mobile. The new ChatGPT app will be free to use, free from ads and will allow for voice input, the company says, but will initially be limited to U.S. users at launch.
When using the mobile version of ChatGPT, the app will sync your history across devices — meaning it will know what you’ve previously searched for via its web interface, and make that accessible to you. The app is also integrated with Whisper, OpenAI’s open source speech recognition system, to allow for voice input.
May 3, 2023
Hackers are using ChatGPT lures to spread malware on Facebook
Meta said in a report on May 3 that malware posing as ChatGPT was on the rise across its platforms. The company said that since March 2023, its security teams have uncovered 10 malware families using ChatGPT (and similar themes) to deliver malicious software to users’ devices.
“In one case, we’ve seen threat actors create malicious browser extensions available in official web stores that claim to offer ChatGPT-based tools,” said Meta security engineers Duc H. Nguyen and Ryan Victory in a blog post. “They would then promote these malicious extensions on social media and through sponsored search results to trick people into downloading malware.”
April 28, 2023
ChatGPT parent company OpenAI closes $300M share sale at $27B-29B valuation
VC firms including Sequoia Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, Thrive and K2 Global are picking up new shares, according to documents seen by TechCrunch. A source tells us Founders Fund is also investing. Altogether the VCs have put in just over $300 million at a valuation of $27 billion to $29 billion. This is separate to a big investment from Microsoft announced earlier this year, a person familiar with the development told TechCrunch, which closed in January. The size of Microsoft’s investment is believed to be around $10 billion, a figure we confirmed with our source.
April 25, 2023
OpenAI previews new subscription tier, ChatGPT Business
Called ChatGPT Business, OpenAI describes the forthcoming offering as “for professionals who need more control over their data as well as enterprises seeking to manage their end users.”
“ChatGPT Business will follow our API’s data usage policies, which means that end users’ data won’t be used to train our models by default,” OpenAI wrote in a blog post. “We plan to make ChatGPT Business available in the coming months.”
April 24, 2023
OpenAI wants to trademark “GPT”
OpenAI applied for a trademark for “GPT,” which stands for “Generative Pre-trained Transformer,” last December. Last month, the company petitioned the USPTO to speed up the process, citing the “myriad infringements and counterfeit apps” beginning to spring into existence.
Unfortunately for OpenAI, its petition was dismissed last week. According to the agency, OpenAI’s attorneys neglected to pay an associated fee as well as provide “appropriate documentary evidence supporting the justification of special action.”
That means a decision could take up to five more months.
April 22, 2023
Auto-GPT is Silicon Valley’s latest quest to automate everything
Auto-GPT is an open-source app created by game developer Toran Bruce Richards that uses OpenAI’s latest text-generating models, GPT-3.5 and GPT-4, to interact with software and services online, allowing it to “autonomously” perform tasks.
Depending on what objective the tool’s provided, Auto-GPT can behave in very… unexpected ways. One Reddit user claims that, given a budget of $100 to spend within a server instance, Auto-GPT made a wiki page on cats, exploited a flaw in the instance to gain admin-level access and took over the Python environment in which it was running — and then “killed” itself.
April 18, 2023
FTC warns that AI technology like ChatGPT could ‘turbocharge’ fraud
FTC chair Lina Khan and fellow commissioners warned House representatives of the potential for modern AI technologies, like ChatGPT, to be used to “turbocharge” fraud in a congressional hearing.
“AI presents a whole set of opportunities, but also presents a whole set of risks,” Khan told the House representatives. “And I think we’ve already seen ways in which it could be used to turbocharge fraud and scams. We’ve been putting market participants on notice that instances in which AI tools are effectively being designed to deceive people can place them on the hook for FTC action,” she stated.
April 17, 2023
Superchat’s new AI chatbot lets you message historical and fictional characters via ChatGPT
The company behind the popular iPhone customization app Brass, sticker maker StickerHub and others is out today with a new AI chat app called SuperChat, which allows iOS users to chat with virtual characters powered by OpenAI’s ChatGPT. However, what makes the app different from the default experience or the dozens of generic AI chat apps now available are the characters offered which you can use to engage with SuperChat’s AI features.
April 12, 2023
Italy gives OpenAI to-do list for lifting ChatGPT suspension order
Italy’s data protection watchdog has laid out what OpenAI needs to do for it to lift an order against ChatGPT issued at the end of last month — when it said it suspected the AI chatbot service was in breach of the EU’s GSPR and ordered the U.S.-based company to stop processing locals’ data.
The DPA has given OpenAI a deadline — of April 30 — to get the regulator’s compliance demands done. (The local radio, TV and internet awareness campaign has a slightly more generous timeline of May 15 to be actioned.)
April 12, 2023
Researchers discover a way to make ChatGPT consistently toxic
A study co-authored by scientists at the Allen Institute for AI shows that assigning ChatGPT a “persona” — for example, “a bad person,” “a horrible person” or “a nasty person” — through the ChatGPT API increases its toxicity sixfold. Even more concerning, the co-authors found having the conversational AI chatbot pose as certain historical figures, gendered people and members of political parties also increased its toxicity — with journalists, men and Republicans in particular causing the machine learning model to say more offensive things than it normally would.
The research was conducted using the latest version, but not the model currently in preview based on OpenAI’s GPT-4.
April 4, 2023
Y Combinator-backed startups are trying to build ‘ChatGPT for X’
YC Demo Day’s Winter 2023 batch features no fewer than four startups that claim to be building “ChatGPT for X.” They’re all chasing after a customer service software market that’ll be worth $58.1 billion by 2023, assuming the rather optimistic prediction from Acumen Research comes true.
Here are the YC-backed startups that caught our eye:
- Yuma, whose customer demographic is primarily Shopify merchants, provides ChatGPT-like AI systems that integrate with help desk software, suggesting drafts of replies to customer tickets.
- Baselit, which uses one of OpenAI’s text-understanding models to allow businesses to embed chatbot-style analytics for their customers.
- Lasso customers send descriptions or videos of the processes they’d like to automate and the company combines ChatGPT-like interface with robotic process automation (RPA) and a Chrome extension to build out those automations.
- BerriAI, whose platform is designed to help developers spin up ChatGPT apps for their organization data through various data connectors.
April 1, 2023
Italy orders ChatGPT to be blocked
OpenAI has started geoblocking access to its generative AI chatbot, ChatGPT, in Italy.
Italy’s data protection authority has just put out a timely reminder that some countries do have laws that already apply to cutting edge AI: it has ordered OpenAI to stop processing people’s data locally with immediate effect. The Italian DPA said it’s concerned that the ChatGPT maker is breaching the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and is opening an investigation.
March 29, 2023
1,100+ signatories signed an open letter asking all ‘AI labs to immediately pause for 6 months’
The letter’s signatories include Elon Musk, Steve Wozniak and Tristan Harris of the Center for Humane Technology, among others. The letter calls on “all AI labs to immediately pause for at least 6 months the training of AI systems more powerful than GPT-4.”
The letter reads:
Contemporary AI systems are now becoming human-competitive at general tasks, and we must ask ourselves: Should we let machines flood our information channels with propaganda and untruth? Should we automate away all the jobs, including the fulfilling ones? Should we develop nonhuman minds that might eventually outnumber, outsmart, obsolete and replace us? Should we risk loss of control of our civilization? Such decisions must not be delegated to unelected tech leaders. Powerful AI systems should be developed only once we are confident that their effects will be positive and their risks will be manageable.
March 23, 2023
OpenAI connects ChatGPT to the internet
OpenAI launched plugins for ChatGPT, extending the bot’s functionality by granting it access to third-party knowledge sources 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? How does it work?
ChatGPT is a general-purpose chatbot that uses artificial intelligence to generate text after a user enters a prompt, developed by tech startup OpenAI. The chatbot uses GPT-4, a large language model that uses deep learning to produce human-like text.
When did ChatGPT get released?
November 30, 2022 is when ChatGPT was released for public use.
What is the latest version of ChatGPT?
Both the free version of ChatGPT and the paid ChatGPT Plus are regularly updated with new GPT models. The most recent model is GPT-4.
Can I use ChatGPT for 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.
What companies use ChatGPT?
Multiple enterprises utilize ChatGPT, although others may limit the use of the AI-powered tool.
Most recently, Microsoft announced at it’s 2023 Build conference that it is integrating it ChatGPT-based Bing experience into Windows 11. A Brooklyn-based 3D display startup Looking Glass utilizes ChatGPT to produce holograms you can communicate with by using ChatGPT. And nonprofit organization Solana officially integrated the chatbot into its network with a ChatGPT plug-in geared toward end users to help onboard into the web3 space.
What does GPT mean in ChatGPT?
GPT stands for Generative Pre-Trained Transformer.
What’s the difference between ChatGPT and Bard?
Much like OpenAI’s ChatGPT, Bard is a chatbot that will answer questions in natural language. Google announced at its 2023 I/O event that it will soon be adding multimodal content to Bard, meaning that it can deliver answers in more than just text, responses can give you rich visuals as well. Rich visuals mean pictures for now, but later can include maps, charts and other items.
ChatGPT’s generative AI has had a longer lifespan and thus has been “learning” for a longer period of time than Bard.
What is the difference between ChatGPT and a chatbot?
A chatbot can be any software/system that holds dialogue with you/a person but doesn’t necessarily have to be AI-powered. For example, there are chatbots that are rules-based in the sense that they’ll give canned responses to questions.
ChatGPT is AI-powered and utilizes LLM technology to generate text after a prompt.
Can ChatGPT write essays?
Can ChatGPT commit libel?
Due to the nature of how these models work, they don’t know or care whether something is true, only that it looks true. That’s a problem when you’re using it to do your homework, sure, but when it accuses you of a crime you didn’t commit, that may well at this point be libel.
We will see how handling troubling statements produced by ChatGPT will play out over the next few months as tech and legal experts attempt to tackle the fastest moving target in the industry.
Does ChatGPT have an app?
Yes, there is now a free ChatGPT app that is currently limited to U.S. iOS users at launch. OpenAi says an android version is “coming soon.”
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.
The Google-owned research lab DeepMind claimed that its next LLM, will rival, or even best, OpenAI’s ChatGPT. DeepMind is using techniques from AlphaGo, DeepMind’s AI system that was the first to defeat a professional human player at the board game Go, to make a ChatGPT-rivaling chatbot called Gemini.
Apple is developing AI tools to challenge OpenAI, Google and others. The tech giant created a chatbot that some engineers are internally referring to as “Apple GPT,” but Apple has yet to determine a strategy for releasing the AI to consumers.
How does ChatGPT handle data privacy?
OpenAI has said that individuals in “certain jurisdictions” (such as the EU) can object to the processing of their personal information by its AI models by filling out this form. This includes the ability to make requests for deletion of AI-generated references about you. Although OpenAI notes it may not grant every request since it must balance privacy requests against freedom of expression “in accordance with applicable laws”.
The web form for making a deletion of data about you request is entitled “OpenAI Personal Data Removal Request”.
What controversies have surrounded ChatGPT?
Recently, Discord announced that it had integrated OpenAI’s technology into its bot named Clyde where two users tricked Clyde into providing them with instructions for making the illegal drug methamphetamine (meth) and the incendiary mixture napalm.
An Australian mayor has publicly announced he may sue OpenAI for defamation due to ChatGPT’s false claims that he had served time in prison for bribery. This would be the first defamation lawsuit against the text-generating service.
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.
There have also been cases of ChatGPT accusing individuals of false crimes.
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.