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GitHub Extends Access to Copilot Chat to Individual Users

GitHub has taken another step towards making programming more accessible and efficient by opening up its Copilot Chat beta to individual subscribers of GitHub Copilot for Visual Studio and VS Code. This move comes three months after the launch of Copilot Chat, a programming-centric chatbot similar to ChatGPT, which was initially available only to organizations with a Copilot for Business subscription. The good news for individual users is that Copilot Chat is now included for free as part of their existing subscription, which costs $10 per month.

Copilot Chat resides in a sidebar within the integrated development environment (IDE), offering developers a platform for multiturn conversations not just about coding in general but also specifically about the code they are currently working on. GitHub emphasizes that it’s the contextual awareness of Copilot Chat that sets it apart from general-purpose chat assistants. This contextual understanding allows it to provide more relevant and useful assistance to developers.

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Shuyin Zhao, the VP of Product Management at GitHub, expressed the significance of this integration in the software development process. He stated, “Integrated together, GitHub Copilot Chat and the GitHub Copilot pair programmer form a powerful AI assistant capable of helping every developer build at the speed of their minds in the natural language of their choice. We believe this cohesion will form the new centerpiece of the software development experience, fundamentally reducing boilerplate work and designating natural language as a new universal programming language for every developer on the planet.”

Copilot Chat offers a range of practical applications, including real-time guidance, best practice recommendations, tailored solutions for code-related issues, and assistance with code analysis and security fixes, all within the IDE. This eliminates the need for developers to switch between different tools and environments.

GitHub’s vision is to promote “natural language as a new universal programming language” with the aim of democratizing software development. This aligns with the company’s recent emphasis on making programming more accessible and efficient. GitHub CEO Thomas Dohmke, who has been vocal about this vision, is scheduled to discuss it further during an onstage interview at the Disrupt conference in San Francisco.

In summary, GitHub’s expansion of Copilot Chat availability to individual subscribers underscores the company’s commitment to enhancing the software development experience by leveraging natural language AI assistance. This move holds the potential to significantly streamline coding workflows and empower developers of all levels.