Just Google It
Jack threw back his head and laughed. "Great attitude, Benny, boy! The more guys that think like you, the easier it will be for the nice folks at the Googlplex to..." He broke off.
Rose eyed Jack uneasily. She hated him at the best of times, even if he usually concealed his bigotry. Now, he had that calculating look on his face. She'd learned it was an expression that signified he had thought of some scheme for his own benefit, usually at others' expense.
They spread out down the corridor, and Ben forgot his remark entirely. Rose remembered it, but she could hardly stop whatever Jack might have in mind. Jack, on the other hand, thought about the idea Ben's remark had sparked so much that it altered the entire course of his life.
First, he began learning all he could about search engine optimisation. Since search engines were incapable of real thought, they were easy enough to fool if you knew the right tricks. The fact those tricks kept changing didn't bother him at all; it kept him on his toes.
Before long, Jack had a whole stable of web sites, most earning him thousands of dollars per month. But the income from merchandising and advertising was just a means to an end. He applied his skills more quietly in other areas, first for staggering consulting fees, then more and more often to advance his own agenda.
Much of the money he made went towards the purchase of as many shares of Google as he could obtain. He was careful to keep his interest secret. He wanted to avoid driving up the market price, and he didn't want to leave clues that might allow anyone to guess his ultimate intentions.
Jack hid his activities quite well, and his name was not publicly associated with a single share of Google stock. When he first ran for office, he placed his substantial public holdings in a supposedly blind trust. Of course, he made sure he could still exert enough control indirectly to continue funding his quiet takeover of Google.
While he was in the Senate, a mechanical malfunction on a jet carrying Larry and Sergey, the founders of Google, made that task much easier. It also depressed the stock price, making it less expensive than Jack had estimated. In the next election, he announced his run for the Presidency.
Rose didn't vote for him, of course, but most of the voters didn't have her insight into his personality, and he won handily. When a very crude but very effective and very dirty nuclear device wiped out downtown San Francisco, all reports said he managed the crisis very capably.
Most analysts agreed that, with the nation in such a state of emergency, it would be folly to attempt to hold elections. The few who disagreed had trouble finding an audience. News organisations in general had learned it was best to follow Google's guidelines when it came to content.
About two years after the Frisco Flash, her son asked Rose for help with a history project. He couldn't even think of a good topic for his paper, and asked her for suggestions.
"Well, you could write a paper on the Holocaust."
"The hollow what?"
"You mean they never taught you about the Holocaust in school?"
"I can't believe they never taught you about it!"
"Okay, Mom, help me find stuff on it and I'll do my report on this hollow cast or whatever it is."
"Holocaust, Daniel. Just a minute. That's funny...."
"What is, Mom?"
"Google shows the definition for a holocaust, and lists a few sites that use the word in that sense, but nothing else."
"Well, Jeez, if it's so obscure it isn't even in Google, of course I've never heard of it!"
"It must be here. Millions of people died. Let me see... What!?"
"What is it, Mom?"
"The top result for Adolf Hitler calls him 'a German patriot who attempted in the face of grave opposition to save the German state'. The next two results are even worse!"
"So who was Adolf Hitler?"
"The man responsible for the Holocaust. I know what I can try. Hold on."
"Okay, Mom, I'm waiting."
"Oh, my God!"
"Look at what this says - 'Holocaust revisionist: some stubborn individuals insist on repeating the false accusation that Adolf Hitler's Third Reich murdered more than six million Jews, and...' False!? There is, or there used to be, an archive with miles of shelving full of the documents those monsters themselves created!"
"Calm down, Mom. Who's at the..."
"Ma'am, we're with the Information Security Agency, and your personal search history has revealed to us that you were persistently attempting to locate Holocaust revisionist literature. Come with us."
"Hey! Where are you taking my Mom?"
"Calm down, son. Your mother just needs a little treatment. We've been monitoring her search history for some time. It has persistently shown indications of a general refusal to accept reality."
"Look, son. Your mother isn't willing to accept that Google's results are accurate."
"Yeah, she was making a fuss about that. I thought it sounded pretty nuts myself."
"There you go, then. We're just going to take her to where she can receive the treatment she needs."