26 May, 2007

Google Buys Out all Bible Versions, Offers E-Tablet

Moses gave us the two essential tablets for his day. But in just one e-Tablet, Google can give us all versions of the entire Bible.

Google recently purchased publishing rights of all known Bible versions and will soon begin large-scale offerings of the Google Bible. The Google Bible has already been pre-Beta tested in several mid-sized churches across the United States.

“At first, I thought some kid had left a small Etch-a-Sketch in the pew rack,” said Cristy Heckle, long time member of First Hidden Valley Methodist Church located in central Virginia. Upon closer inspection, she was shocked to see “Google Bible” across the top.

Google hopes to dominate the electronic Bible business within the next 5 weeks. A simple e-book offered by Franklin (bought out by Google last October) makes it possible for Google to donate plain text e-book Bibles free to churches which already have wireless Internet. Yes, they are FREE! The major difference between these and other electronic Bibles is the constantly refreshing click ads (a.k.a. “sponsored links”) that appear in a column on the right side of the screen. The click ads are based upon key words in the passages retrieved by the user. For example, if the user retrieves Ephesians 1:14 containing the word “redemption,” then several unobtrusive ads for coupon books appear in the right column.

The user can just ignore these ads. Or, if something catches their eye, they simply tap “email me” within the ad with the stylus. Other than the titles and a brief description, no further information regarding the product is flashed in front of the user. Because users must log on to the Google Bible at the beginning, an email ad will automatically be sent to the user’s home email address. The user will access the full ad later. The sermon is not disturbed.

"We were missing almost 5% of our regular Christian Google searchers on Sunday morning, explained a Google executive. "We were brainstorming, 'how can we increase the Sunday morning Christian click ad rate?" That's when they realized the potential of the Google Bible.

Tom in the box News Network experimented with one of the Google Bibles by retrieving John chapter 4 where the disciples had gone to buy food and the Lord Jesus meets the woman from Samaria at the well to offer her living water. Almost immediately, the right column posted ads about well drilling companies, books about building personal wells, shopfoodonline, gomobo.com, water purification systems, a local water park, and available hotels in the northern West Bank of the Jordan River.

Google representatives do admit that there were some minor advertising glitches at first when the users retrieved passages containing the words ‘prostitute’ or ‘harlot.' "Regrettably there were some very awkward automatic sponsored links.” Fortunately, the membership requests for such subscriptions were very low. Regardless, “Google is 100% confident that those types of problems have been eliminated.” In the latest version of Google Bible, Churches can choose their own filter level. Users specify a sponsoring Church, and the filter for that Church is automatically applied to the user. Apparently, some of the Kentucky Baptist churches have chosen not to filter whiskey ads. Also some of Boston Episcopalian Churches have allowed ads from gay bars.

Google Bible does lead to greater participation in personal Bible reading. We know this for a fact because Google provides churches with statistics on who goes where in the Bible. For instance, if the pastor quotes James 1:17, Google is able to determine how many users actually retrieve that passage during a particular ½ hour. “I grew up hearing ‘turn to such and such passage’ but I would give up after a couple of minutes with one of those old paper Bibles. Google Bible has helped me. I’m there in less than 5 seconds after Pastor Ponson says ‘retrieve such and such passage,’” said Winnie Stubbs, 26.

The Google Bible can be used only for retrieving text. These plain text versions have a very low requirement for memory. Each Bible has a low cost embedded wireless modem module that operates at 1200 bps, which is just fine for text. Currently, the books of Genesis through Revelation are available in all versions of the Bible. Google hopes to add the final book of the Bible (The Book of Maps) in the near future if the Google ad clicks warrant the investment.

They can run for hours on 3 AAA batteries, though a charger is available for $19.95. “We have over 300 units charged up and ready prior to each service,” said custodian Everett Cassidy. “Just like when Moses brought the two tablets down from the mountain and they broke, God gave him two new ones. If you drop your tablet, Google will get you a new one if you purchase the insurance for 4.99 per month,” explained Cassidy.

To increase the chances that users will choose to receive emails from the sponsored links, users accumulate click ad points which are donated to their sponsoring church. The points will not accumulate unless the individual actually opens the email ad at home and clicks “I have read this ad” within the email.

Some were concerned that the word “Google” had replace the more traditional word “Holy”, but Google representatives were quick to point out that many versions of the Bible had made a similar change. “Even MacArthur replaced ‘Holy’ with ‘MacArthur Study’ in his latest NASB edition.”

What about privacy? “We aren’t worried,” said Pastor Ponson. Google has promised to never share or store our Bible reading habits. “We are quite confident that this would never lead to problems for Christians. Your privacy is protected.”

“Google Bible will no doubt lead to deeper spiritual relationships that would not be possible otherwise,” said Paston Ponson. Apparently this is the case for 17 year old Barbie Schmit. “I’ve grown up with Google. Ever since I can remember, my parents and family were using Google. I remember when I was 9, I told my mom I wanted to experience Google myself. She didn’t believe I was ready at first, but after my heartfelt, tearful pleas, she walked me through the steps. During that experience, I accepted Google as my personal search engine. It’s nice to know that Google can be there with me in church. I’m more willing to go to church. When I look up on the song screen and don’t see the Google toolbar, it’s nice to look down on the rack in front of me and see ‘Google Bible.’ Our church even lets us take the Google Bible home if we promise to keep it charged. I place the Google Bible on the charger on my dresser. It serves as a tiny nightlight. If I wake up during the night, it’s comforting to see that gentle blue glow of the big “G” watching over me.”


Horizon said...

That is awesome, Brother Slawson! XD You, sir, are brilliant. I actually used to do this sort of thing on my Palm--made looking up verses much faster. I can totally imagine Google doing this, though. Keep 'em coming--I love this feed!

Lawrence said...


Sewing said...

Wow. The Slawson clan has outdone itself. Tom had better stick to his ground and refuse to license this idea, because I'm half afraid that Google will actually take this idea and try to run to it.

Jeff said...

"We were missing almost 5% of our regular Christian Google searchers on Sunday morning, explained a Google executive. "We were brainstorming, 'how can we increase the Sunday morning Christian click ad rate?"

In a wierd twisting of providencial interaction (fate)... Our deacon board was just discussing how it seems that 95 percent of our members seem to be playing or texting on their phones durting the sermon,... maybe this is the answer!

Religion Roundtable said...

If it ain't Google e-Tablet, it ain't bible.

Lawrence said...

One parishioner was quoted as saying, "if it was good enough for Paul it's good enough for me" regarding the new E-Tablet.

Religion Roundtable said...


I thought Paul was strictly a "New Living Message" guy.

Lawrence said...

Yes, but the New Living Message on E-Tablet :)

Timotheus said...

Brilliant! Got all sorts of wonderful digs in.

Christopher said...

Hey why not? After all, Microsoft has already bought the Roman Catholic Church.

Chris said...
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Chris said...