Yes, Rick Santorum did just ask you to Google him

Story highlights

  • Santorum and Google have been at odds over his search results for years
  • The issue began in 2003, after a critic responded to Santorum's comments about LGBT people

Washington (CNN)Rick Santorum wants you to compare him to Hillary Clinton -- by searching his name on the Internet.

Nothing crazy about that, right? Right -- up to a point. Here's the thing: In making his request, Santorum on Thursday night uttered the single phrase so many believed would never, ever escape his lips.
"Google Rick Santorum," the former Pennsylvania senator told viewers of the Fox Business Network's undercard debate.
    A full understanding of the subsequent uproar requires familiarizing yourself with a few things.
    To start, you'd have to search for "Santorum" on Google. Sandwiching his Wikipedia bio page are two links, both with different fake definitions for his surname -- neither of which are fit for polite conversation.
    The issue has followed Santorum since 2003 after he compared the prospect of same-sex relationships to bestiality. Marriage, he said, had never included things like "man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be."
    Cue the sex columnist Dan Savage, who is gay, and his unique, lasting protest art. In response to the senator's comment, Savage floated a very specific, new definition for "Santorum." Using a neat algorithmic trick, the term became a top Google search result.
    Santorum would appeal to the company, asking them in 2011 to filter the graphic returns.
    But the company refused, telling Politico at the time that individuals who want "content removed from the Internet should contact the webmaster of the page directly." Santorum's Google problem does not appear to occur if you search for his full name: "Rick Santorum." But it's a different story if you stick only to the last name.
    At present, certain "safe search" settings will weed out Savage's definition. But for most users, the alternate term still features.