ChatGPT creator aims jab at ‘lethargic’ Google as the tech giant’s A.I. war with Microsoft heats up

February 9, 2023, 4:15 PM UTC
Sam Altman, cofounder and CEO of OpenAI
Chona Kasinger—Bloomberg/Getty Images

The executive at the helm of OpenAI, maker of A.I. phenomenon ChatGPT, has labeled Google’s flagship search engine “lethargic” as he gears up to completely disrupt the internet search business.

In an interview with technology newsletter Stratechery published on Wednesday, Microsoft CTO Kevin Scott and Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, discussed the tech giant’s newly unveiled Bing search engine.

The two companies have partnered to incorporate ChatGPT into Bing, in a bid to totally overhaul the capabilities of Microsoft’s internet search tool and challenge the dominance of rival Google.

Asked about the monetization of the updated Bing engine, Altman was bullish about the “fabulous” opportunities the joint venture presented.

“I think there’s so much upside for both of us here,” he said, before suggesting that the A.I.-powered Bing would certainly pose a threat to existing models and their revenues—even when it came to market leader Google.

“If I were sitting on a lethargic search monopoly and had to think about a world where there was going to be a real challenge to the way that monetization of this works and new ad units, and maybe even a temporary downward pressure, I would not feel great about that,” Altman said.

Representatives for Google were not immediately available for comment when contacted by Fortune.

‘Code red’ at Google

OpenAI’s highly sophisticated chatbot, which is capable of fulfilling requests from writing speeches to creating a three-course menu to passing MBA exams, is so groundbreaking that it is now the fastest-growing consumer app in history—and Big Tech has taken note.

While Microsoft announced a $10 billion investment in OpenAI last month, ChatGPT’s release has sent tech giants Google and Chinese counterpart Baidu scrambling to build and release their own rivals to the technology.

ChatGPT’s release reportedly even triggered a “code red” at Google.

Google parent company Alphabet plans to incorporate its own offering, called Bard, into its flagship search engine in a bid to challenge the so-called new Bing.

Earlier this week, Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai said in a blog post Bard will be released to the public within a few weeks.

However, the journey has already been bumpy for Alphabet, as $100 billion was wiped off its market value after Bard made a mistake in its very first public outing on Wednesday.

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