Google Maps temporarily relabels Russell Senate Office Building as McCain building

The Senate has yet to make a decision about ...

Posted: Aug 30, 2018 4:07 AM
Updated: Aug 30, 2018 4:07 AM

The Senate has yet to make a decision about renaming the Russell Senate Building in honor of John McCain, but for a brief time on Wednesday, some Google Maps users could already get directions to the "McCain Senate Office Building."

Users who searched for the Russell building in Google Maps during the error period were instead given a listing for the "McCain Senate Office Building," and the map labeled the building as such. The rest of the information -- street address, website, ratings, phone number -- remained the same. Users who searched for information about the Russell Senate Office Building in Google search on desktop were given the option to see results about the "McCain Senate Office Building."

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By early afternoon, the error was fixed, and all queries for "McCain Senate Office Building" in Google maps were redirected to Russell. A Google spokesperson suggested the change was prompted by user suggestions.

"We empower people to contribute their local knowledge to the map, but we recognize that there may be occasional inaccuracies or premature changes suggested by users. When this happens, we work to address as quickly as possible," the spokesperson said in a statement to CNN.

Following McCain's death, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer announced he intended to introduce a resolution to rename the building, which is currently named for Richard Russell, a former senator from Georgia who was a segregationist. On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he would ask a "gang" of lawmakers to meet and talk about the best way to honor McCain but didn't directly address renaming Russell.

The Google Maps error came on the heels of President Donald Trump's accusations that the search engine was "rigged."

"Google search results for 'Trump News' shows only the viewing/reporting of Fake News Media," the president said on Twitter Tuesday, suggesting the website's actions were "illegal."

"In other words, they have it RIGGED, for me & others, so that almost all stories & news is BAD. Fake CNN is prominent. Republican/Conservative & Fair Media is shut out," he added. "Google & others are suppressing voices of Conservatives."

Google said its goal with search was to make sure users receive the most relevant answers.

"Search is not used to set a political agenda and we don't bias our results toward any political ideology," a Google spokesperson said Tuesday. "We continually work to improve Google Search and we never rank search results to manipulate political sentiment."

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