ChatGPT is back online after suffering a “major” outage, according to the OpenAI status log (as spotted by Bloomberg). It’s far from the first time the chatbot has gone down in recent months, and it comes amid increased competition from Google’s brand-new Gemini artificial intelligence (AI) tool.

OpenAI, ChatGPT’s developer, posted the note on its website stating that the company’s chatbot was down for just under 40 minutes yesterday, between 5:32pm and 6:10pm PST. Outage indicator website Downdetector logged almost 3,000 reports that ChatGPT had crashed, coinciding with OpenAI’s report.

Looking back through OpenAI’s incident report page, it’s far from the only time that ChatGPT has gone down recently. November was a particularly error-prone month, with another “major” outage on November 8, while a whole host of OpenAI services were inaccessible on November 11.

The latest crash comes at a potentially challenging time for OpenAI, as Google has just launched its Gemini large language model (LLM) that will power a range of AI services for the search giant. Yet Gemini hasn’t got off to the best start, as complaints have mounted over its abilities and Google’s decision to fake a “hands-on” video of the tool.

ChatGPT Plus resumes subscriptions

A laptop screen showing the landing page for ChatGPT Plus

(Image credit: OpenAI)

Just as ChatGPT was coming back online, OpenAI’s CEO Sam Altman shared some more positive news on X (formerly Twitter), noting that the company had re-enabled ChatGPT Plus subscriptions. “Thanks for your patience while we found more GPUs,” Altman added dryly.

ChatGPT Plus is OpenAI’s subscription service. For $ 20 / £16 a month, users gain access to a more advanced LLM (powered by GPT-4 rather than GPT-3.5, which runs the regular version of ChatGPT), faster response times and “priority access to new features and improvements.”

ChatGPT Plus had become so overrun in recent months that OpenAI was forced to pause subscriptions. According to Altman, a surge in use after OpenAI’s DevDay developer conference “exceeded our capacity and we want to make sure everyone has a great experience.”

With the rise of Google Gemini, you might be taking this moment to consider whether ChatGPT Plus is worth it. Google says Gemini can beat GPT-4 in a majority of tests, yet that’s with its high-end Ultra model, which isn’t available yet. So for now, ChatGPT Plus is still probably the best AI chatbot you can get – at least until Gemini Ultra launches.

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