ChatGPT is one of the fastest growing technology products of all time, and OpenAI announced ChatGPT has over 100 million active users at their November 2023 OpenAI DevDay.
While ChatGPT started as a very simple product (just a chat screen!), over the last few months, OpenAI has released a number of different products to help people add functionality to ChatGPT, such as custom instructions, GPT plugins, and now custom GPTs.
As it becomes more and more difficult to stay up-to-date on how to manage ChatGPT, this guide is meant to help explain the differences between the various ChatGPT products and show off some of the most popular CustomGPTs and ChatGPT plugins.
What is a custom GPT?
A custom GPT is a custom version of ChatGPT that can be preloaded with knowledge and specific instructions on how to interact with the user. Rather than having only one “generic” ChatGPT for everyone, Open AI thinks there is a big opportunity in allowing people to build “custom” GPTs and then sharing them in a marketplace.
So what can you do with a custom GPT? You can build a custom GPT that teaches 5th grade math, that knows the rules to your board game, or that answers questions about your company’s support documents. In addition to adding knowledge, custom GPTs can be given instructions on communication style and access to third party APIs to connect to other services.
Best custom GPTs (November 2023)
Levels.fyi is a popular website that shares compensation data for people who work in the tech industry. The creator of Levels.fyi created a custom GPT for people to ask questions about their data and get insights in the form of written advice or data visualizations. His goal is to help people become data-driven negotiators.
Link to custom GPT: https://chat.openai.com/g/g-yUh3EEQan-levels-fyi-gpt
Plus AI Presentation Maker
Plus AI is a tool to help people speed up the process of making new presentations or editing their existing presentations. They also have a custom GPT that will help you jot down the outline of a presentation, which can later be converted into a Google Slides or PowerPoint presentation using their AI tool.
Link to custom GPT: https://chat.openai.com/g/g-M1LP4l1Kf-plus-ai-presentation-maker
Riley Goodside, a prompt engineer at Scale AI, shipped this "Assistant Assistant" to provide up-to-date help on how to use OpenAI Assistants (and other parts of the OpenAI API). This example shows how to create an OpenAI Assistant that can explain code in the style of Jar Jar Binks.
Link to custom GPT: https://chat.openai.com/g/g-KkTq7dkUB-assistant-assistant
What should I watch?
Ammaar Reshi built a custom GPT that can browse the web to see the list of movies you've watched before and then figure out what movies and TV shows you should watch. Finally, it will go and determine where you can stream the content that it recommends to you! (It's pretty slow for OpenAI to run all of this, but cool to see how this could work over time)
Link to custom GPT: https://chat.openai.com/g/g-Gm9cCA5qg-what-should-i-watch
This custom GPT by @skirano allows users to create a basic website with one instruction to a GPT. It automatically creates a repo hosted in Replit and then you can preview the live page immediately.
Link to custom GPT: https://twitter.com/skirano/status/1723026266608033888
Hazel Lim created a custom GPT that can help people navigate the grant application, writing, and approval process by planning out your application and then helping to actually write the content. It provides a high-level overview of the process and then it can make detailed recommendations on content.
Link to custom GPT: https://chat.openai.com/g/g-RLWowCpRQ-grant-ai
What is a GPT plugin?
A GPT Plugin is a tool that can interface with ChatGPT to provide an additional set of functionalities. Today, GPT plugins are only available in the base version of ChatGPT (not in custom GPTs), and they require the user to toggle them on or off to use.
Plugins help ChatGPT users access an unlimited number of 3rd party services to book flights, order groceries, or make restaurant reservations. ChatGPT also has two first party plugins (web browser and code interpreter) that are available to ChatGPT users.
So what can you do with a GPT plugin? Plugins give ChatGPT access to real-time information on the web and specific pieces of functionality that allow a user to perform specific actions outside of the context of a chat window.
Custom GPTs vs GPT plugins
The primary difference between custom GPTs and GPT plugins is that custom GPTs are created using a no-code chat interface inside of ChatGPT whereas plugins are built outside of ChatGPT and connected to ChatGPT via API.
This means that plugins are typically able to provide more functionality, and are more like “apps” with a chat interface, while custom GPTs are more like chatbots with specific knowledge and instructions.
- No code required to build a custom GPT
- Can only use one custom GPT at a time
- Can set custom instructions and styles for the chatbot
- Can be extended with web browsing or API connections
- Shareable on GPT marketplace
- Typically created by individuals
- Requires code to set up the plugin and API interface
- Can use multiple GPT plugins in the context of one conversation
- Cannot change the context or instructions of the chatbot
- Can be created to do anything on the web (not limited to chat window)
- Discoverable in plugins directory
- Typically created by businesses
- Do I need to be a ChatGPT subscriber to use custom GPTs? Yes, at this time, you need to have a ChatGPT Plus subscription to use custom GPTs
- What are ChatGPT custom instructions? ChatGPT custom instructions allow a user to customize their ChatGPT window so that responses always follow certain styles and the chatbot always knows certain pieces of context.
- When should I use custom instructions vs. custom GPT vs. a GPT plugin? Depending on your goals and level of technical ability, you may want to try one or two options. Setting custom instructions is the easiest way to quickly modify how ChatGPT works, but it does not add additional knowledge or functionality. If you need to add additional functionality beyond chat, you probably need to explore plugins or a custom GPT that can talk to an external website or app.
- What are some of the best custom GPTs? This list provides some of the most interesting GPT-4 and custom GPT apps that users have shared on Twitter.
- Are custom GPTs free? Today, custom GPTs are only available to ChatGPT Plus users.
- Can I make money with custom GPTs? Yes, OpenAI has announced they will do a revenue share for custom GPTs that are discoverable on their marketplace.
- Can I make money with GPT plugins? Yes, different GPT plugins have different revenue models, but they typically ask customers to connect their app accounts to their ChatGPT account and connect their subscriptions.