Microsoft's once infamous, but now loved (sort of) Office Assistant Clippy was, in many ways, a precursor to what the company is trying to to do now with its generative AI features like Bing Chat and Microsoft 365 Copilot. Now a third-party developer has launched its own version of Clippy that is designed to help people with ChatGPT.
FireCube Studios launched its free preview version of Clippy in the Microsoft Store this week (via TechRadar) for Windows 10 and 11 users. With this version, Clippy is a way to get answers from OpenAI's ChatGPT chatbot, in this case the GPT 3.5 model. As the developer notes, you can pin Clippy to the desktop so you can access it for quick generative AI answers to questions.
The good news is that the Clippy app is available for free. The big catch, at least for now, is that you will need to purchase an OpenAI key in order for the Clippy app to actually work for you. The developers says they are trying to launch a new version where buying that key is not needed to use Clippy.
The app itself is open source, and you can get the code from GitHub. FireCube Studios says they are working on more improvements for its version of Clippy. That includes adding even more Office Assistant characters, including the truly infamous Bob.
Bob was basically a smiley yellow face with glasses. It was also the logo for Microsoft's software that was supposed to offer a version of Windows with a "friendlier" UI. It launched in March 1995, before the release of Windows 95, but it bombed hard and was quickly retired less than a year later.
While most people think back on Clippy with nostalgia, it's clear Microsoft doesn't want to bring a version of that Office Assistant again for Bing Chat or Copilot, even as an option. This unofficial version of Clippy will have to do for now.