Google blunder declares Rep. Rangel died in 2004

Rep. Charles Rangel is very much alive, despite suffering an untimely (and totally untrue) death, according to Google.

 A short biographical blurb on the New York Democrat that appeared last week in Google searches for Rangel declared that the 81-year-old congressman was deceased.


And anyone who might have been surprised by the news would’ve been a bit belated in sending flowers, since, as noted in the New York Observer, the search result showed Rangel died nearly eight years ago — on Nov. 20, 2004!

The early-obit oops occurred as part of a new feature rolled out by the search engine giant called “Knowledge Graph,” which gives quick bits of info about the subject a Web surfer is looking for.

A Google spokesperson said in a statement that the company is constantly working to improve its search, writing, “Our goal is to be useful; we realize we’ll never be perfect, just as a person’s or library’s knowledge is never complete. But we strive to be accurate, and we cite sources in a great many cases.” 

The Rangel snafu has since been fixed.

Rangel communications director Hannah Kim told ITK in an email, “As Mark Twain would say, ‘The reports of Congressman Rangel’s death are greatly exaggerated.’ He is very much alive and well, campaigning hard to be reelected so he can continue to serve his constituents and be the effective legislator he is.”