Sam Altman throws shade at Google’s ‘aesthetic’

Sam Altman throws shade at Google’s ‘aesthetic’
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Sam Altman with sunglasses on head
Instead of going after Google’s products, Sam Altman threw shade at its event aesthetic.

  • OpenAI and Google each held major events this week announcing AI updates, one day apart.
  • Sam Altman said he “cannot stop thinking” about the aesthetic difference between Google and OpenAI.
  • The post led a Google engineer to call out Altman for timing OpenAI’s event just before Google’s.

Sam Altman isn’t afraid to stir the pot a bit in the AI race, and his latest post took aim at Google.

OpenAI and Google held their biggest events of the year so far, a day apart from each other — and AI was the theme of both.

OpenAI announced its new flagship AI model, GPT-4o, which “can reason across audio, vision, and text in real time.” A day later, Google announced various updates to its AI models — including a new AI agent called “Project Astra,” and the future of Google Search.

But instead of coming after Google’s AI offerings, Altman threw some shade at Google’s aesthetic. The CEO posted a side-by-side image on X, formerly Twitter, of OpenAI’s event with Google I/O next to it.

“I try not to think about competitors too much, but I cannot stop thinking about the aesthetic difference between OpenAI and Google,” he wrote.

On the left, OpenAI researchers are sitting on a couch in dim lighting trying out the new GPT-4o in a vaguely midcentury modern office space. On the right, Google’s vast outdoor stage almost resembles a movie set. The image shows a small crowd in front of a brightly lit stage with fake windows and clouds, and Google’s famous rainbow colors on the wall behind it.

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Altman’s point is clear: OpenAI’s event looks sleeker and more intimate, while Google looks like a large-scale production.

The general structure and style of both events also differed. Google’s event was nearly two hours long and featured music looper Marc Rebillet of TikTok and YouTube fame warming up the crowd with the help of AI. OpenAI’s was under 30 minutes and held in its offices.

Musician Marc Rebillet is onstage at Google IO 2024.
Musician Marc Rebillet of TikTok and YouTube fame onstage at Google I/O 2024.

Google I/O featured over half a dozen speakers, including CEO Sundar Pichai, who opened the event and spoke again at its closing. Meanwhile, OpenAI only had a few speakers and Sam Altman never made an appearance in the livestream.

At least one Google employee was quick to clap back at the OpenAI CEO.

Less than two hours after Altman’s post on X, Zachary Nado, whose profile lists him as a research engineer at Google Brain, posted a response. The Googler wrote that, for a CEO who claims he doesn’t think about competitors much, it’s “interesting how all your launches are timed with ours then.”


Of course, it’s also worth noting that Google tried to have the last laugh 30 minutes before OpenAI kicked off its event, posting a demo video of Google’s own AI agent and its impressive image recognition.

While the Google engineer said that he was just “bantering” and has a lot of respect for OpenAI researchers, the back-and-forth highlights the rivalry between the two companies as they race to create the top AI products.

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OpenAI may not have announced a search engine at its event on Monday, but it’s reportedly in the works of creating its own web search product. Meanwhile, Google is in the process of improving its Gemini AI suite, which has trailed behind OpenAI’s ChatGPT — but has quickly gained market share.

Read the original article on Business Insider


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