Google Maps Briefly Renames Senate Office Building After John McCain

August 29, 2018, 4:38 PM UTC

Google Maps didn’t wait to see if lawmakers renamed a Senate office building for Senator John McCain.

The Russell Senate Office Building, across from the Capitol, came up on the search engine’s map as “McCain Senate Office Building” for several hours Wednesday morning. Google said in the early afternoon that it was fixing the matter.

“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,” the company said in a statement. “When this happens, we work to address as quickly as possible. We have implemented a fix for this issue that is rolling out now.”

McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee and Vietnam War hero, died Saturday at 81 after a battle with brain cancer.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York proposed the idea of renaming the Russell Senate Office Building for McCain in a statement released shortly after the senator’s death. Schumer was joined later on a resolution seeking the change by Senator Jeff Flake, an Arizona Republican who was close to McCain.

President Donald Trump criticized Google this week over the way it displays news stories.

Trump claimed on Tuesday without providing evidence that Google’s news search function favored liberal over conservative outlets, tweeting that “This is a very serious situation-will be addressed!” Later, in a meeting in the Oval Office, he told reporters that Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. “are treading on very, very troubled territory.”

A name change appeals to some Democrats since the building’s current namesake, Senator Richard Russell Jr. of Georgia, was a leader of Southern opposition to civil rights legislation. He was in office from 1933 to 1971.

Yet most Senate Republicans aren’t backing changing the building’s name — so far anyway. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky on Tuesday said he’ll appoint a bipartisan group of senators to decide how to honor McCain. Some are suggesting a portrait that would be located just off the Senate floor, or renaming the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing room after him, McConnell said.