GitHub Copilot Chat Beta Now Open to Individual Developers

GitHub Copilot Chat, an AI-powered coding assistant, is now available to individuals after a beta launch for team/business users. It streamlines development with NLP and aids in security patch suggestions.

GitHub Copilot Chat has taken a significant step closer to general availability, with GitHub announcing that its previously exclusive beta offering for team and business customers is now accessible to individuals as well.

This tool represents an evolution of the original AI-powered "AI pair programmer" that made its debut in 2021 through GitHub, which is owned by Microsoft. It marked the beginning of Microsoft's ambitious Copilot-themed AI assistant initiatives, including innovations like ChatGPT developed in collaboration with Microsoft's partner, OpenAI.

GitHub Copilot Chat essentially combines the technology behind the original Copilot coding assistant with the capabilities of ChatGPT. It seamlessly operates within both Visual Studio Code and Visual Studio 2022 through extensions, harnessing advanced natural language processing (NLP). This empowers developers to receive answers and assistance in plain language directly from their supported code editors or integrated development environments, without the need to delve into documentation or scour online forums. By eliminating these interruptions, GitHub aims to streamline the development process, allowing developers to stay focused and maintain their momentum. Additionally, it can offer tailored suggestions such as code snippets, tips, and solutions for specific coding challenges.

In March, GitHub initiated a private preview for Visual Studio 2022 users, followed by a beta release for GitHub Copilot for Business subscribers in July. Now, on September 20th, GitHub has announced the beta availability for individual users.

GitHub envisions that the synergy between GitHub Copilot Chat and the GitHub Copilot pair programmer will create a powerful AI assistant capable of enabling developers to work at the speed of their thoughts, using their preferred natural language. This integration is expected to become the cornerstone of the software development experience, fundamentally reducing repetitive tasks and elevating natural language as a universal programming language for developers worldwide.

One notable advantage of this tool, particularly in an era plagued by ransomware and cybersecurity threats, is its ability to suggest security patches, enhancing the overall security of open-source projects. GitHub views this as exciting news for the developer community.

Additional features highlighted by GitHub include:

To participate in the beta testing of this tool, users must have an active GitHub Copilot subscription, and Visual Studio Code users should have the latest version and be signed in with the same GitHub ID that has access to GitHub Copilot.

At present, the Visual Studio Code tool has garnered significantly more downloads, with approximately 950,000 downloads, compared to the Visual Studio 2022 tool, which has been downloaded approximately 92,600 times.

For more comprehensive information on using GitHub Copilot Chat, users can refer to GitHub's "Using GitHub Copilot Chat" documentation.

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