ChatGPT Plugins were a great addition to the ChatGPT Plus plan: They acted like browser extensions for ChatGPT, adding third-party functionality to the chatbot that OpenAI didn’t build in itself.

Unfortunately for fans of these plugins, they’re now no longer available. OpenAI discontinued them back in April, informing users that existing conversations with plugins couldn’t be continued. (They are, however, still viewable.) OpenAI didn’t take away a great function for the hell of it, though: The company made the decision because it saw its new tool, GPTs, as an improved successor.

What are GPTs?

This can get a bit confusing, since OpenAI has two different uses for the name “GPT.” The one you might be more familiar with is the GPT LLMs: This includes GPT-3.5, GPT-4, GPT-4 Turbo, etc. These GPT LLMs are what power ChatGPT, as well as programs that outsource their AI processing to OpenAI. Microsoft’s Copilot, for example, uses GPT-4 Turbo.

GPTs in this context, on the other hand, are customized versions of ChatGPT. Users and developers alike can create a custom GPT to do whatever they want: For example, you can make a GPT that designs custom logos, generates images using DALL-E, or writes in a manner of your choosing. They can be basic bots, or full of complexity.

Best of all, it’s a no-code application: You’d assume to build one of these programs, you’d need to know how to write the code to make it work. But OpenAI’s GPT builder works as a conversation. You tell the builder what you want your GPT to do, upload additional knowledge to help the bot work, as well as choose its capabilities (web browsing, image generation, and code interpreting), and it generates you a GPT. And since GPTs are trained on OpenAI’s latest GPT models (again, confusing, I know), there’s less dependency on third-party processes or APIs to achieve the same tasks.

You still need a ChatGPT Plus or Enterprise account to use GPTs, but if you’re a paying customer, you can get started building from here. The builder walks you through the entire process, including suggesting names and generating logos. You’re free to adjust anything as you see fit along the way.

How do GPTs replace plugins?

While it’s great that OpenAI made a GPT builder that literally anyone can use, it doesn’t seem to fill the exact void that plugins left. After all, you don’t necessary want to build your own browser extensions: You want to download the best ones off your browser’s web store and be done with it.

But GPTs aren’t just about self-creation: Anyone, including companies, can make GPTs and put them on the GPT Store for others to use. Part of the reason OpenAI killed plugins is that many of the same companies that worked on these apps also have GPTs that do the same thing. Kayak had a ChatGPT plugin for checking prices on travel, but it now has a GPT for it instead. If you liked Wolfram’s ChatGPT plugin, you’ll probably like its GPT as well. OpenAI says while the plugins beta had just over 1,000 plugins to choose from, the GPT Store has hundreds of thousands of GPTs to use. While there is no doubt plenty of junk on the GPT Store to sift through, chances are you’ll find GPTs you want to use.

If there was a particular plugin you loved, try searching on the GPT Store for it. (Kayak and Wolfram came right up.) Of course, the sheer number of GPTs on the store means the situation has changed considerably: Like other app stores, the GPT Store has “Featured” and “Trending” tabs for finding GPTs OpenAI and other ChatGPT users like. OpenAI is currently selling me on a wine sommelier GPT, as well as a language teacher.

Scroll through the GPT Store and see if any of the promoted options appeal to you. Then, make a search for applications you’re looking for and see if any have already been made. You can get an idea of how well-liked the GPT is by the reviews and number of conversations it has been used for, similar to checking ratings on an app store. However, if you don’t find what you’re looking for in a search, you might want to try building the GPT yourself.

Of course, like all AI products, GPTs can hallucinate. In other words, they sometimes just make things up. Don’t take everything your GPT responds with as certified fact, even if it does have access to the web. If you’re using the GPT for anything important, always fact check before using the information it provides.