Veo, Google’s Sora competitor, is hyped by Donald Glover


Donald Glover in a knit hat

Google, with the help of creative renaissance man Donald Glover, has demoed an AI video generator to compete with OpenAI’s Sora. The model is called Veo, and while no clear launch date or rollout plan has been announced, the demo does appear to show a Sora-like product, apparently capable of generating high-quality, convincing video.

What’s “cool” about VEO? “You can make a mistake faster,” Glover said in a video shown during Google’s I/O 2024 livestream. “That’s all you really want at the end of the day — at least in art — is just to make mistakes fast.” 

a four-image split-screen view of AI-generated images

Credit: Mashable screenshot from a Google promo

Speaking onstage in Hawaii at Google I/O, Google Deepmind CEO Demis Hassabis said, “Veo creates high quality 1080p videos from text image and video prompts.” This makes Veo the same type of tool, with the same resolution as Sora on its highest setting. A slider shown in the demo shows a Veo video length being stretched out to a little over one minute, also the approximate length of a Sora video. 

Since Veo and Sora are both unreleased products, there’s very little use trying to compare them in detail at this point. However, according to Hassabis, the interface will allow Veo users to “further edit your videos using additional prompts.” This would be a function that Sora doesn’t currently have according to creators who have been given access.

What was Veo trained on? That’s not currently clear. About a month ago, YouTube CEO Neal Mohan told Bloomberg that if OpenAI used YouTube videos to train Sora, that would be a “clear violation” of the YouTube terms of service. However, YouTube’s parent company Alphabet also owns Google, which made Veo. Mohan strongly implied in that Bloomberg interview that YouTube does feed content to Google’s AI models, but only, he claims, when users sign off on it.  

What we do know about the creation of Veo is that, according to Hassabis, this model is the culmination of Google and Deepmind’s many similar projects, including Deepmind’s Generative Query Network (GQN) research published back in 2018, last year’s VideoPoet, Google’s rudimentary video generator Phenaki, and Google’s Lumiere, which was demoed earlier this year. 

Glover’s specific AI-enabled filmmaking project hasn’t been announced. According to the video at I/O, Glover says he’s “been interested in AI for a couple of years now,” and that he reached out to Google — and apparently not the other way around. “We got in contact with some of the people at Google and they had been working on something of their own, so we’re all meeting,” Glover says in Google’s Veo demo video.  

There’s currently no way for the general public to try Veo, but there is a waitlist signup page.

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