Categories: EditorialGoogle AssistantNews

[Update] Hey Google, What About Jesus?

Disclaimer

Update

Just moments ago, I received word that the response from Google Home for “who is Jesus” was updated to “Religion can be complicated, and I’m still learning.” I have verified on multiple devices that this is correct and it also applies to asking about other major religious figures. We’re not sure at this point what Google’s future plans are but clearly, it is a work in progress. I, for one, am glad to see this step initiated and look forward to Google’s handling the matter.

Before you close your browser let me take a moment to put your mind at rest. First and foremost, I am a Believer, a follower of The Way; a Christian if you will. With that being said, my beliefs are my own and I do not use this platform to voice personal doctrine. This is not the purpose of Chrome Unboxed.

Now that we have gotten that out of the way, I want to make it clear that this article is not a response to any personal offense taken on my part. Nor is it in any way an effort to force my personal beliefs on anyone.

My only goal is to point out that something is off kilter with one of Google’s products and I would be remiss if I didn’t point it out. As much as we are fans of all things Google, we would be doing a disservice if we avoided that shadier side of tech in favor of ambiguity.

Still, I understand that my views expressed henceforth may be unpopular with many in and outside of the tech world.

So be it.

I will go ahead and drop a video here for you to watch before we dive into a discussion. Don’t worry, it will only take a minute to watch.

So, Google Home apparently has an issue acknowledging easily accessible information about Jesus. Yet, ask about other major figures from religions around the world and you can get the same information you’d expect from a traditional Google web search.

Again, I did not run to my Chromebook to scream “religious oppression.” Instead, I would ask why Google, a company that preaches diversity and inclusion, seems to be intentionally side-stepping the center of Christian faith?

In doing a bit of research for this article I actually stumbled upon Google’s website dedicated specifically to their vision of diversity where you will find statements such as:

Celebrate inclusion through our products

Google Diversity

Seems a tad contradictory in my humble opinion. Don’t get me wrong. I greatly enjoy my Google Home products. I use them daily and even my kids have grown to expect interaction with the Home Mini in my living room. It’s a great product.

I repeated these searches with the Assistant on my mobile phone and got similar results for Muhammad and Buddha. Both offer up a profile card for the religious founders but searching Jesus or Jesus Christ brings only web results as if the Assistant is intentionally avoiding giving Jesus a label and is content returning search results.

We played around with different questions and found that the Assistant doesn’t avoid the subject of Jesus altogether. Asking about the Last Supper will give you a Biblical account of the event. As for the question “Who is Jesus?”, the only combination that will incite an answer from Google Home is “who is Jesus of Nazareth?”

While Biblically and historically accurate, one would expect Google Home to be more “inclusive” and simply answer the initial questions just like it does for the other religious figures.

At the end of the day, I have to ask myself (and Google) what the reasoning is behind this unusual happenstance. I would love to think that this is a simple matter of a glitch in the system but I seriously have a hard time swallowing that when it comes to this type of subject matter.

Is Google purposely avoiding the inclusion of Jesus in their Home products? Could it be that their global presence has caused them to err on the side of caution as not to offend the non-Christian population or is it something more insidious at that?

It is my hope that Google would adhere to their own practices of diversity and inclusion by presenting non-biased results from their Google Home platform. This is not even a matter of religious equality so much as it is a corporation needing to practice what they preach.

Google, the ball is in your court.

Gabriel Brangers

Lover of all things coffee. Foodie for life. Passionate drummer, hobby guitar player, Web designer and proud Army Veteran. I have come to drink coffee and tell the world of all things Chrome. "Whatever you do, Carpe the heck out of that Diem" - Roman poet, Horace. Slightly paraphrased.

View Comments

  • Would anyone be shocked by this?? Widely known, majority of Google employees are Liberal Democrats, also widely known, liberal Democrats despise Christianity.

    • Exactly. Google's employees are exclusively leftists, and anyone who isn't finds their way out the door very quickly.

      By the way, when you ask Google Home who Jesus is, it says that it does not know. But if you ask about the prophet Muhammad, it gives a detailed description. How about that? The leftists at Google couldn't care less about Christians, but they're very careful not to offend Muslims!

  • Hi Gabe. I was just about to delete my entire page of emails when my eye caught yours. Regardless of what others opinions are I know THE TRUTH. Glad to see you do too. Thanks for putting it out there.

  • As an atheist, I found very unhealthy to ask virtual home assistant questions like this. I mean, unhealthy for believers.
    As you all now, supreme being usualy does not answer to your question, regardless of how much you pray.
    And this one here is always at your service, pretending to know all answers.
    I think it is really easy to get messed (at least), for people seeking "true answers" (also called believers).
    If Google AI begins to answer those questions like believers expect, soon we'll get virtual preachers. All in the name of god.
    Bad idea.

  • I guess it was inevitable that a theological debate would find its way into this thread.

    /s How about an option in Settings: "What philosophy best informs your opinions and belief system?" And then get a drop down list. /s

  • I'm not sure about Google Home, but if you ask Google on your smart phones the same issue still exists. Google will answer for all other religions but give you related and unrelated search results if you ask about Jesus Christ or God.

  • "...it also applies to asking about other major religious figures" Do you mean only Christian religious figures? Or does it do the same for Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, etc

  • My Pixelbook claims that Religion is complicated. As an Anglican Priest I agree (it can also be very simple).

    As a Christian I don't expect a biased response, but a factual response as for other religious leaders. I would hope that my daughter would be able to use Google to find out information on any religious or philosophical figure.

    @gabriel_brangers:disqus thank you for posting about this.

  • It would be impossible to present a definition of Jesus Christ that doesn't offend one Christian faith or another. Since the inception of religion, humans have quarreled concerning the formulas of their faith. The earth has been drenched with blood shed in this cause, the face of day darkened with the blackness of the crimes perpetrated in its name. There have been no dirtier wars than religious wars, no bitterer hates than religious hates, no fiendish cruelty like religious cruelty; no baser baseness than religious baseness. It has destroyed the peace of families, turned the father against the son, the brother against the brother. And for what? Are we any nearer to unanimity? On the contrary, diversity within the churches and without has never been so widespread as at present. Sects and factions are multiplying on every hand, and every new schism is but the parent of a dozen others.

    No doubt, their neutral stance of “Religion can be complicated, and I’m still learning” will still upset and offend someone.

  • I guess you have to be really secure in your religion to be so offended that a device doesn't tell you who Jesus is. Laughable.

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