Boost ChatGPT with new plugins 🚀
Wonder Tools | Six new ways to use AI 🦾
In May, more than 1.8 billion people used ChatGPT, an AI chatbot that generates human-like text. ChatGPT recently enabled new plugins. Each is linked to an online service, allowing you to plan travel, create diagrams, search contacts and more. Read on for how to make the most of ChatGPT plugins, along with caveats.
How to get started with ChatGPT plugins
ChatGPT is free, but to use its library of 628+ plugins you need a $20 monthly ChatGPT Plus subscription. If you’re new to AI or looking for free options, check out 7 ways to use ChatGPT or other pieces I’ve written on making the most of AI.
Once you pay for a subscription, select “beta features” in your account settings and turn on plugins. You can have up to 3 plugins active in any chat thread. To add plugins, start a new thread and select the GPT-4 option. Then click on “select plugins” and choose the ones you want.
Create a new thread for each new group of plugins you want to try. Your threads are visible on the left-hand navigation of the ChatGPT interface. You can return to any thread to continue the dialogue.
Examples: I started a thread using the Kayak, Expedia and Opentable plugins while planning an upcoming trip. Then I created a new thread to make charts and diagrams and turned on the Whimsical and Daigr.am (yes, it’s spelled oddly) plugins. I can return to either of those threads later, and can continue creating additional threads with other plugins.
6 plugins to try 🧪
1. Plan your travel ✈️ | Kayak | What the plugin can do
ChatGPT’s Kayak plugin lets you figure out travel plans through an iterative dialogue. Share the travel dates you have in mind, including possible flexibility. Then ask natural language questions about flights, hotels, and rental cars.
Rather than starting a search from scratch every time as you might on the Web, with a ChatGPT dialogue you can iterate on your travel ideas, adjust dates as you go, try different questions and chat your way to an itinerary.
Kayak provides links so you can click over to its site to book your trip.
Alternatives: I like using Expedia’s plugin to search for travel activities, like walking tours. Kayak can’t do that. And Opentable has a useful plugin for picking a restaurant that meets your criteria. Like Kayak, Expedia and Opentable include links in the chat dialogue so you can click to make reservations.
2. Create a diagram | Whimsical | What the plugin can do
Open ChatGPT with the Whimsical plugin installed and describe a process or a diagram. Whimsical will generate a visual flowchart or mind map of anything you describe. It will make you an organization chart if you tell it who you work with. Or it will give you a visual outline of any sequence of steps.
Tip: Combine the capabilities of ChatGPT and Whimsical by asking ChatGPT to explain and diagram a process. You’ll end up with a clear explanation plus a visual you can edit. Here’s an example of a diagram I generated by asking ChatGPT how a journalism story develops.
3. Connect your apps | Zapier | What the plugin can do
Zapier lets you link multiple services to one another. You can give it permission to log into your accounts to automate menial tasks. After turning on Zapier’s ChatGPT plugin, you can ask ChatGPT to generate a draft message in Gmail or Slack, add something to a Google spreadsheet, or update one of your Notion tables. Zapier works only with what you give it permission to access. Here’s more on how it works.
4. Explore your contacts | Clay | What the plugin can do
I wrote about Clay last year as a tool for managing contacts and staying in touch with people who matter to you. Now you can combine ChatGPT with Clay to query your contact collection for those in a particular industry in a city you’re visiting and then draft a personalized email to each. Note: you’ll need a Clay account to use this plugin.
5. Find podcasts🎙️ | Listen Notes | What the plugin can do
Search for podcast episodes that mention you or any other person or subject, or find popular podcasts in any language or region. You’ll get clickable links to relevant episodes, along with full transcripts.
6. Search Substack | Substack AI | What the plugin can do
Query your own newsletter content or that of other Substacks. Get a list of newsletters that cover a particular topic, or get summaries of recent posts. To generate a constructive self-critique I asked the plugin what a critic would say I left out of my recent post. I also asked it about the length of other tech newsletters.
🎥 Watch me turn on and try a new ChatGPT plugin 👇
Other notable plugins
Bookworm: Find books you might like based on ones you’ve enjoyed
Likewise: Find movies or TV shows that match your preferences
Prompt Perfect: Improve a vague prompt to yield a more useful reply
No mobile: Plugins don’t yet work in the ChatGPT mobile app.
Quirks: Plugins occasionally misfire. Opentable, for example, suggested a restaurant not open in the morning when I asked it for breakfast places. Expedia listed bus tours when I asked it for walking tours. Most of the time, both plugins worked well.
Cost: If you’re just using ChatGPT for help summarizing text, generating draft emails or brainstorming ideas, the $20 ChatGPT subscription may not be worth it. It’s most useful for those who use plugins to save hours on menial or repetitive tasks, or those who just love exploring new tech.
Beta: Like other services in development, the plugin library is changing daily, with little official guidance on how to make the most of each offering.
Privacy: It’s not clear how plugin makers store or use your query data, so be conscientious about private info you submit. You can clear your ChatGPT history, but plugin makers may not remove data they’ve collected.