Google Has a Jesus-Shaped Hole in Its Graph
We already know that Google hates America, so it should be no surprise that the largest search engine in the world also hates Jesus.
Search Engine Roundtable’s Barry Schwartz posted about a thread on the Google Web Search Help forum, in which one Google user says that he’s noticed something amiss with Google’s knowledge graph results. Apparently, Jesus doesn’t get his own knowledge graph result, but other prominent religious figures like Muhammad, Moses, and Buddha do.
“Why the absence of Jesus?” asks Steve.
I don’t know, Steve. You might be asking a bigger question than you think. But before tackling anything like that, let’s make sure Google is really throwing Jesus this major diss.
Nope, no knowledge graph there.
You won’t find a knowledge graph in searches for Jesus Christ, Christ, or Jesus of Nazareth either. In fact, for that latter search, Google suggests you see results about the 1977 television miniseries, Jesus of Nazareth, which I’m positive is what most people who search that phrase are looking for in the first place. Good on you, Google.
Ok, so maybe Google just stays away from religious figures in knowledge graph results – just to play it safe.
You’ll also find knowledge graphs for Moses, Buddha, and biblical figures like Judas Iscariot, King David, Solomon, and many more – even Adam and Eve.
So, once again, where’s Jesus?
Much of Google’s knowledge graph pulls from Wikipedia, and Jesus has quite the thorough Wikipedia page. The snippet from Wikipedia that would appear in a hypothetical knowledge graph box isn’t controversial, really:
Jesus, also referred to as Jesus of Nazareth, is the central figure of Christianity, whom the teachings of most Christian denominations hold to be the Son of God. Christianity regards Jesus as the awaited Messiah of the Old Testament and refers to him as Jesus Christ, a name that is also used in non-Christian contexts.
Yeah, that about sums it up. So why has Google purposefully removed Jesus’ knowledge graph?
It turns out, Google is pretty inconsistent when it comes to religious figures and the knowledge graph. While you find graphs for Buddha, Muhammad, and Moses, you won’t find a graph for Vishnu, the Supreme God of Vaishnavism, one of the three main sects of Hinduism or Shiva, another popular Hindu deity. You won’t find a graph for Kirshna either.
There’s no knowledge graph for God, Allah, or Yahweh either. What do Jesus, Vishnu, Allah, and these left-out entities have in common?
They’re all God, or gods. Sure, Jesus Christ is also believed to be a human, the son of God. But in Christian teachings, Jesus is also God himself. It looks like Google is simply shying away from assigning any sort of god their own knowledge graph.
“Possibly because of the ‘controversy’ surrounding Jesus. Everyone accepts who Muhammad, Moses and Buddha are, but not every-one accepts Jesus is the Son of God. If they define him as a prophet, Christians could take offense, if they define him as the Son of God, Muslims could take offense…. that is one argument it might be better to stay out off (if you are Google),” one Google user replies to Steve’s original question.
Jesus doesn’t have a graph because Google isn’t touching that with a 39 and a half-foot pole. Google’s just staying away from deities. Even do a search for ancient deities – Ra, Zeus – no knowledge graph.
Or, Google hates Jesus. You’ll most definitely find a graph result for The Big Bang.
Image via Wikimedia Commons