Romney’s Google Problem Solves Itself, Santorum’s Not So Much

Nov 1, 2011 10:59am

Google seems to be as lukewarm about GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney as Republican voters are, who have yet to show more than 25 percent support  for the former Massachusetts governor.

Last week when anyone Googled the phrase “Romney can win,”  the search engine asked: “Did you mean: ‘Romney can’t win?’”

But after a flurry of recent news stories about the search and suggested search, which were first reported by Slate, the top-secret Google algorithms about the prospects of the on-again-off-again Republican front-runner seem to have changed.

For those  searching “Romney can win” this week, Google has ditched its “did you mean” suggestion and has merely underlined the word  ”can” in red. The change, a Google spokesperson suggests, is purely mechanical and was not done deliberately.

“Our algorithms are automatically refreshed to take into account the latest data available,” the spokesperson said in an email. “With the latest data refresh, the spell-checking feature no longer appears for this particular query.”

Romney’s campaign declined to comment on the search results.

But the former Massachusetts governor is not the only Republican presidential contender with a Google problem. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum has been battling his search results for years. Just type “Santorum” into the search bar to find out why.

Instead of campaign websites or news stories, the word “Santorum” returns links to foul sex-related sites that were posted by gay rights activist and prankster columnist Dan Savage in 2003 to  high-jack the “Santorum” Google search.

And while the less-than-supportive search suggestion for Romney began to disappear as more people searched “Romney can” than “Romney can’t,” Santorum’s returns have had much greater staying power.

“Google’s search results are a reflection of the content and information that is available on the web,” company spokesman Gabriel Stricker said last month in a statement. ”We do not remove content from our search results, except in very limited cases such as illegal content and violations of our webmaster guidelines.”

But that has not stopped Santorum from fighting back against Google for allowing such “filth,” as he calls it, to top the search results.

“I suspect if something was up there like that about Joe Biden, they’d get rid of it,” Santorum  told Politico. “If you’re a responsible business, you don’t let things like that happen in your business that have an impact on the country.”

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