Someone At Google Renamed The Russell Building After The Late Senator John McCain

Google Maps app open on a black iPhone.
Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Just days after the revered U.S. senator passed away from terminal brain cancer, Google Maps renamed the Russell Senate Office Building to the McCain Senate Office Building. The gaffe seems to have been inspired by speculated legislation to officially rename the office building in honor of the late “giant of the Senate.”

Senator John McCain, a war hero and six-term U.S. senator passed away from an aggressive glioblastoma on Saturday after a year-long treatment for the terminal condition. McCain was known as “The Maverick” and was respected across the aisle, particularly for his willingness to break away from his party in order to stick to his political beliefs.

The Inquisitr reported this week about Chuck Schumer’s announcement to introduce legislation to rename the Russell Senate Office Building, the building that housed McCain’s office, in the fallen senator’s honor.

“Nothing will overcome the loss of Senator McCain, but so that generations remember him I will be introducing a resolution to rename the Russell building after him,” Schumer stated as reported by USA Today.

Now it seems someone at Google Maps want to nudge the Senate in the right direction.

John McCain waving.
John McCain speaks to a group of supporters. Eric Thayer / Getty Images

The Washington Post reports Wednesday morning that when Google Maps users typed “Russell Senate Office Building” into the search engine, the “McCain Senate Office Building” instead appeared on the screen. Later on Wednesday, the listing was back to its original name.

The WaPo continues to say it is unclear how or why the building was renamed on the website. Google said in a statement to the Post Wednesday, “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. We have im­ple­ment­ed a fix for this issue that is roll­ing out now.”

The idea to rename the Senate building came up under the reflection of Senator Russell’s legacy. Russell was a Democratic senator for 38 years. He was a Southern segregationist who led the opposition in the Senate against civil rights. This legacy inspired previous efforts to rename the building, says the Post, but each of them failed.

Some speculate that the change of the building name on Google Maps was suggested by a web user. Web users can suggest edits to the locations on display in Google Maps. The suggested edits are then reviewed by Google before they show up. Users can intentionally suggest incorrect information.