ChatGPT reportedly hit 100 million users in January

ChatGPT has grown much, much faster than TikTok or any other popular app or service. According to a new study by analytics firm UBS (via Reuters and CBS), the chatbot developed by OpenAI was on track to hit over 100 million monthly active users in January. The chatbot only became publicly available on November 30 last year, but its rise to fame has apparently been meteoric. Within its first month of availability, it already had 57 million monthly active users, according to the study. Already in January it was visited daily by around 13 million individual users.

In comparison, it took TikTok nine months after its global debut to reach 100 million monthly users despite its popularity, especially among the younger generation. UBS analyst Lloyd Walmsley also pointed out that Meta’s Instagram had been around for two and a half years before it got to this point. However, it remains to be seen whether the chatbot can sustain this interest in the coming months. “The next question, of course, is how long his staying power will be. There may be an element of people just coming to see it,” Walmsley added.

ChatGPT provides users with natural-sounding, human-like responses to queries, so much so that educators are concerned it might be used by students to cheat. While there are still serious accuracy issues — “Models like ChatGPT have a notorious tendency to disseminate biased, harmful, and factually inaccurate content,” MIT’s Tech Review wrote in an article — there is no other public chatbot with comparable capabilities. Reportedly, it so unnerved Google executives that they decided to declare “Code Red” and accelerate the company’s AI development. The tech giant is working on some potential ChatGPT competitors, including a search chatbot, and intends to launch 20 AI products this year.

ChatGPT is still free to use at the moment, and OpenAI doesn’t seem to have any plans to completely lock access to it behind a paywall. However, the startup intends to charge for the service and has already begun testing a $20-per-month ChatGPT paid plan that offers faster response times and priority access to new features.

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