- Person types "mandrake linux"
- Person remembers the name change and types "mandriva linux"
- Google's algorithms go through all your search results (yes, that's what the cookie is for - lets them associate searches with "the same person") and decides that "mandrake", "mandriva" and "linux" are connected (but it knows enough about "linux" to know they're not the same)
- Down the track, someone will type "mandrake linux" and be asked "perhaps you want 'mandriva' instead"
- Person clicks "mandriva", Google associates "mandrake linux" with "mandriva"
Same way a person learns, really. However, it's still a good idea to delete your Google cookie(s) every once in a while...