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ChatGPT: 7 Old and New Features I wish I had known Before

Reading Time: 4 min

I vividly remember my first experience with a computer. It was an old 486 machine running MS-DOS (Microsoft Disk Operating System. Not Microsoft Distributed Denial of Service Attack), and I used it to play Doom 2. Later on, I also had the opportunity to use Windows 3.1, Windows 95, and eventually Windows 98 on the same PC. It was fascinating to witness the evolution of operating systems and the capabilities of personal computers during that time. In my opinion, while MS-DOS had a steep learning curve due to its command line interface, learning Windows 9x, despite its graphical user interface, was even more difficult because there was no internet and the only way to learn was to look around the operating system or ask an expert. I mentioned that because a week ago, I took the road less travelled and looked around ChatGPT settings and found seven features, both old and new, that significantly enhanced my experience. Here are those features that I wish I had known before:

Acknowledgement: While “ChatGPT” is not currently a registered trademark, it is a brand name of OpenAI. All rights reserved. The image of the OpenAI logo used in the thumbnail is for illustrative purposes only and is the property of OpenAI, Inc.

Desktop Client for Windows and macOS

Here’s the first and the oldest feature of ChatGPT in my list of features I wish I had known before. ChatGPT’s desktop clients were introduced on May 18th, 2023. These custom clients are now available for both Windows and macOS. OpenAI highlights that this feature is designed to optimize performance, enable offline access, and seamlessly integrate with system notifications, eliminating the need for a web browser. This change has significant benefits for users. Personally, I have found it immensely useful as I previously used the Edge browser from Microsoft to access ChatGPT on my MacBook Air, noticing that it drained the battery faster than Safari. However, I am unable to shift entirely to Safari due to Edge’s superior customization options. If you want to experience this enhanced performance and offline access, you can download the desktop clients from the OpenAI website. Simply install the client and log in using your credentials. Try it out today!

ChatGPT 4o Module + ChatGPT3.5: 2 in 1

The second oldest feature of ChatGPT on my list of features that I wish I had known about before is the integration of the GPT-4 model (referred to as the ChatGPT 4 engine) in the ChatGPT 3.5 model. This is an upgrade over the standard GPT-3.5 model which is available to free-tier users. The announcement was made on March 14, 2024. While GPT-3.5 is great for everyday tasks, the GPT-4 model is the newest and most advanced model. I haven’t noticed much difference between the output generated by these two models, probably because my tasks are not that complicated. When you exceed your GPT-4 quota as a free tier user, the system typically informs you that GPT-4 will be available again after a specific number of hours. This waiting period varies but it is designed to manage the demand and ensure fair access for all users. After exceeding your quota, GPT-4 access is temporarily locked, and you receive a message indicating the wait time until you can use GPT-4 again.

Two-Factor Authentication and Passkeys

When I first signed up for my ChatGPT account, I immediately checked to see if it supported Two-Factor Authentication (2FA). Unfortunately, 2FA wasn’t available until March 23, 2024. 2FA adds an extra layer of security. Besides a password, you also need to provide a second form of verification, such as a code from an authentication app. This extra security is essential, especially considering the prevalence of hacked ChatGPT Plus accounts, similar to the issues with Microsoft 365 and Grammarly Premium. Ensuring unauthorized users can’t access your account is crucial, even if you’re not storing sensitive information, unless you’re running an open charity, right? One downside is that there’s no option to mark a device as trusted, annoying having to input the OTP every time I access the AI chatbot through a web browser. Passkeys were announced on May 30, 2023, but the feature isn’t still available in my region. These are the third and fourth new features of ChatGPT I wish I had known before.

Memory and Spell Checker Functions

As of mid-2024, approximately 16.7% of ChatGPT users access the service via mobile devices. Now typing on a smartphone keyboard can result in spelling errors, which could affect the accuracy of the output. (I use Grammarly to eliminate spelling and grammar errors in my prompts.) However, OpenAI has announced the integration of a spell checker on March 23, 2024. This feature automatically detects and corrects spelling errors in the input before processing it. This function ensures that the messages are clear and accurate. Another impressive feature announced on the same date is the “Memory”, which allows ChatGPT to remember information shared in past conversations across different sessions. This feature can make interactions more personalized and efficient, as the model can recall previous details about you or your preferences without needing to be reminded. These are the fifth and sixth new features of ChatGPT in my list of features I wish I had known before.

Note: If you are worried about privacy, ChatGPT has an option to clear its “Memory”. I’m not sure how reliable it is, though.

Use External Apps with “Connected Apps”

Now, let’s talk about the seventh and the latest feature of ChatGPT on my list of features that I wish I had known about before. (This feature might already be familiar to some of you.) Sometimes, I need ChatGPT to reference a document. In the past, I would copy and paste the text into ChatGPT. However, what if I need ChatGPT to refer to a spreadsheet or another type of file? This is where the “Connected Apps” feature comes in handy. As of the time of writing, ChatGPT can connect to Google Drive (allowing uploads of Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and other files), Microsoft OneDrive (Personal – for uploading Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and other files), and Microsoft OneDrive (Work/School – for uploading Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and other files, including those from SharePoint sites). These integrations enable users to connect their ChatGPT account with the apps they already use, streamlining their workflow. Unfortunately, when I tried to retrieve a file from my Microsoft OneDrive, it failed due to a permission issue, but that’s a story for another time.

Wrap Up

As you see, features like two-factor authentication, desktop clients, memory capabilities, spell check, connected apps, the powerful GPT-4 engine, and the innovative Passkeys for secure access are more than just upgrades—they are game changers. They enhance security, streamline your workflow, and personalize your interactions, making your experience with ChatGPT not just efficient but also enjoyable. As Ginni Rometty wisely said, “Some people call this artificial intelligence, but the reality is this technology will enhance us. So instead of artificial intelligence, I think we’ll augment our intelligence.” By leveraging these tools, you can unlock the full potential of ChatGPT, transforming it from a simple AI assistant into an indispensable part of your daily routine. Whether you’re a new user or a seasoned pro, these features ensure that you’re getting the most out of this powerful platform. So dive in, explore, and let ChatGPT redefine the way you interact with AI.

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