Google Home disables responses for all religious figures following Jesus Christ controversy
Google's smart audio technology, Google Home, will no longer respond to questions about all religious figures after it emerged that the device was not able to answer the question "Who is Jesus?"
The tech giant has been accused of having an "agenda" and bias against Jesus and Christianity after the home assistant device failed to respond to questions about Jesus or God, while it was able to provide information about Buddha, Muhammad and Satan.
On Friday, Google issued a statement saying it is temporarily disabling the responses for all major religious figures.
"The reason the Google Assistant didn't respond with information about 'Who is Jesus' or 'Who is Jesus Christ' wasn't out of disrespect but instead to ensure respect," Danny Sullivan, Google's public search liasion, said in a tweet.
"Some of the Assistant's spoken responses come from the web, and for certain topics, this content can be more vulnerable to vandalism and spam. If our systems detect such circumstances, the Assistant might not reply. If similar vulnerabilities were detected for other questions - including those about other religious leaders - the Assistant also wouldn't respond," he explained.
Google Home has been dubbed as a "powerful" speaker and voice assistant as the device can play music, call the owner's friends and answer almost any question that can be found on the web. But before the update, the device was not able to provide an answer when asked who is Jesus, Jesus Christ or God. "Sorry, I'm not sure how to help" or "My apologies I don't understand," the device responds, as reported by The Christian Post.
When asked about the Islamic prophet Muhammad, Buddha and Satan, the device was able to provide a full breakdown of what it has found on the web. Google Home only mentions Jesus when asked about the Last Supper or Saint Peter.
Amazon's Echo assistant, Alexa, also came under fire last year after it reportedly referred to Jesus as a "fictional character" while giving answers to questions about Muhammad.
An online video posted by conservative media personality Steven Crowder showed Alexa describing Jesus as a fictional character, but many others said that the device just pulled up the web description of Jesus.
Crowder stressed that he had seen tweets and videos from people who asked the device about Jesus and received a similar response.
The issue regarding Amazon's Alexa appears to have been resolved as the device was able to pull up the online information on Jesus when television producer David Sams compared the answers of his Google Home and Alexa during a Facebook Live video.
After the update to Google Home, Sams posted another video showing the device's response when asked about various religious figures.
When Sams asked Google Home about religious figures the device responded to each of the names, saying "[r]eligion can be complicated and I'm still learning."
Sams hailed Google's decision as a "victory" as he believes that Jesus has been given an equal treatment to other religious figures. "It's better to be on par, than you don't know who Jesus is," he said.