OpenAI Unveils App Store for Custom Chatbots

OpenAI said on Wednesday that it was opening an app store for people to share customized versions of its popular chatbot, ChatGPT, as the artificial intelligence company works to expand the reach of its flagship technology and turn it into a moneymaker.

The new store is called the GPT Store. People who spend $20 a month for a subscription to OpenAI’s ChatGPT Plus service can browse the store for custom chatbots that provide a wide array of services, including those that recommend books, teach mathematics and search through scientific papers.

The store will “help you find useful and popular custom versions of ChatGPT,” the company said in a blog post.

OpenAI, which was founded as a research lab, is increasingly operating as a for-profit company that aims to compete with rivals like Google. With the new store, the company hopes to turn its technology into an online platform that connects businesses and customers.

Over the last four years, Microsoft has invested $13 billion in OpenAI, which has also raised money from other investors. The San Francisco start-up is in talks to finalize a deal that would value it at over $80 billion.

Seasoned software developers have long used ChatGPT’s underlying technology, GPT-4, to build their own applications, including search engines and automated tutors. The app store is a way for a new audience — individuals and small businesses with no experience as software developers — to distribute apps based on the same technology.

In recent months, OpenAI has worked to enhance and expand ChatGPT in other ways. In September, it folded its DALL-E image generator into ChatGPT and released a new version of the chatbot that interacts with people using spoken words, much like Apple’s Siri digital assistant.

The company also said on Wednesday that it would offer a version of its chatbot called ChatGPT Team. Available for $25 to $30 per user a month, ChatGPT Team provides a way for businesses and other groups to use the chatbot in a way that will keep their data private. Any information shared through the service will not be used to train its A.I. technologies, OpenAI said.

(The New York Times sued OpenAI and Microsoft last month for copyright infringement of news content related to A.I. systems.)

The GPT Store is opening after OpenAI created a service in November that allows people to build custom chatbots called “GPTs.” Anyone can quickly customize ChatGPT for a particular task without help from additional software or computer code.

The website, for instance, designed a chatbot that recommends hiking trails. Khan Academy, a nonprofit education group, built one that can help people learn to write computer programs. Over the last two months, three million customized chatbots have been created, OpenAI said.

The store is designed to expand the number of people who use and pay for services like ChatGPT Plus. OpenAI said it would begin sharing revenue with those who offer customized versions of the chatbot, based on how often each customized chatbot is used.

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