The main Google searchbox on Google.com has a feature where if you start typing a phrase it tries to anticipate what you have in mind and offer the complete phrase in a drop down pick list based on what other users have asked. For example if you type into Google's searchbox
How do I
Google offers ten suggestions for completing this entry, beginning with these three useful questions:
How do I find my IP address How do I know if im pregnant How do I get a passport
Commenter Victoria points out that if you type in, however, Pat Bu, Google offers you the following ten prompts:
Pat Burrell Pat bus schedule Pat Buttram Pat Burrell stats Pat Burns Pat Burrell wife Pat Burke Pat Buckley Moss Pat Buckley Pat Burns cancer
Who are these people?
Using the power of Google, it's easy to discover that Pat Burrell is a leftfielder, Pat Buttram was Gene Autry's sidekick in 1930s singing cowboy movies and later Mr. Haney on Green Acres. Pat Burns is a former hockey coach. Pat Buckley Moss is a painter. Pat Buckley was the wife of William F. Buckley.
Somehow, I don't think those are the most famous Pat Bu...s on the Internet today.
If you type in Pat Buc, then Google just gives up giving you prompts, which it doesn't with other letters. For example, Pat But prompts you with a whole bunch of new names even more obscure than the immortal Pat Buttram.
Maybe it's just a misunderstanding. So, let's type into Google Patrick Bu. And we get another list of prompts, but none of them include He Who Must Not Be Named.
Finally if you type in Patrick J. you'll get a list of prompts of people named Patrick J. Something, none of them as famous as Patrick J. Buchanan, winner of the 1996 New Hampshire GOP Presidential primary.
Of course, Google can't (yet?) delete Pat Buchanan from their main search engine, just from the prompts. If you type Pat Buchanan into Google's searchbox, you get back:
Results 1 - 20 of about 1,630,000 for pat buchanan. (0.22 seconds)
In contrast, if you type in Pat Buttram:
Results 1 - 20 of about 49,300 for pat buttram. (0.32 seconds)
It's the sheer pettiness of Google going to the trouble of banning Pat Buchanan from its little prompting feature, one of its least important, that is so amusing and eye-opening.
P.S.: Richard Hoste points out in comments that Yahoo.com's search bar has the same prompting engine, with Pat Buchanan being the first of the Pat Bu and second, behind Pat Benatar, for Pat B. Another commenter points out the Microsoft's Bing search bar delivers the same prompts as Yahoo: Buchanan is the #1 Pat Bu and #2 Pat B.
So, somebody at Google is doing this intentionally. To repeat, this one example isn't at all important — what's striking is the mindless animus of somebody at Google that would lead to going to all the trouble of doing such a trivial thing.
And because Google is so close to being a monopoly, it's crucial that the public monitor abuses by Google stemming from Google's not exactly subtle political biases, such as this silly little thing or the more serious annihilation of Mangan's blog in November (which was rectified after many complaints).
Ridicule is the best medicine.