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Archive for Thursday, April 1, 2010

Google renames itself, to Topeka?

As part of an April Fool's Day joke, Google, the search giant, renamed itself Topeka, in honor of the Kansas Capital, which renamed itself Google in an effort to lure the tech firm's new fiber demonstration project.

As part of an April Fool's Day joke, Google, the search giant, renamed itself Topeka, in honor of the Kansas Capital, which renamed itself Google in an effort to lure the tech firm's new fiber demonstration project.

April 1, 2010, 7:41 a.m. Updated April 1, 2010, 2:16 p.m.

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Proper use of Topeka

  • Good: Before our blind date I Topeka searched him.
  • Not preferred: Before our blind date I Topeka'ed him.
  • Bad: Before our blind date I topeka'd him.
  • Very bad: Before our blind date I topeka'ed him with Alta Vista.

Source: Topeka, Inc.

— For a month, Topeka was Google. For a day — April Fools’ Day — Google was Topeka.

In a nod to the Kansas capital, which unofficially changed its name to Google, Kan., for a month in a bid to become a test site for the company’s planned super-fast fiber optic network, the popular search engine changed its name Thursday to Topeka.

Visitors to the company's home page, were greeted by the name "Topeka" in Google's familiar multicolor typeface. Below it was a link to a lengthy blog posting by Google Chairman and CEO Eric Schmidt explaining the move.

Google renamed Topeka for a day

The city saw a 70 percent traffic increase on its Web site after the popular search engine changed its name for a day. Enlarge video

Topeka, Schmidt said, took its name from the Kansa Indians as “a good place to dig for potatoes” along the banks of the Kansas River.

“We’d like to think that our Web site is one the Web’s best places to dig for information,” Schmidt wrote.

Topeka Mayor Bill Bunten’s office was inundated with calls Thursday.

“We’ve had a lot of fun with it. It’s brought attention to our city,” Bunten said. “I appreciate that they received our effort to change the name in good humor and we do the same with their change to Topeka.”

Schmidt said Google users would have to get used to using “Topeka News” and “Topeka Maps” and that Google employees — known affectionately as “Googlers” — would be known as “Topekans.”

Bunten and city leaders signed off on the unofficial name change in hopes of landing Google’s broadband project in Topeka, a city of 123,000.

“There’s so many good things that are going on here. The Google thing is one of a number, and we’re not done yet,” Bunten said.

Gov. Mark Parkinson called the name change was a well-deserved recognition, adding “Today, if people have Topeka’d ’Kansas’, they’ve seen it’s the perfect place to live, work and raise a family.”

Google spokesman Dan Martin was quick to note the name change doesn’t mean Topeka has risen to the top of the list of contenders.

“We continue to evaluate the approximately 1,100 community responses that we’ve received, and still plan to announce our target community or communities by the end of the year,” Martin said in an e-mail to The Associated Press.

Google will announce which community will be selected to build the network by the year’s end. It offers to provide Internet connections of 1 gigabit per second to as many as 500,000 Americans, faster than the broadband connection in most U.S. homes.

Topeka isn’t alone in its efforts to woo the Google project.

Vermont produced a 2-minute video showing a college student pulling orange extension cord throughout the state, ending with Gov. Jim Douglas asking the student not to run in the Statehouse. And Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty proclaimed March 26 to be Google Twin Ports Day to show support for Duluth’s application.

Other applicants have been less audacious, choosing to stick to traditional communications touting existing infrastructure that could support Google’s efforts.

The names will eventually revert back. Topeka will be Topeka and Google will be Google, but Schmidt said there could be some confusion, even for just one day.

Billionaire Richard Branson’s co-venture with Google to launch a permanent colony on Mars would henceforth be known as Project Vireka, a melding of Virgin and Topeka, instead of Project Virgle, Schmidt wrote.

Google has used April Fool’s Day before to draw attention to its activities. It launched Gmail in 2004, offering e-mail accounts with 1 gigabyte of free storage per account, more than rivals Microsoft and Yahoo. First confused for a hoax, Gmail now has an estimated 176 million users worldwide.

Comments

headdoctor 4 years, 9 months ago

Yeah, says a lot for Kansas. Again. Topeka can now claim the be the butt of a world wide April Fools joke. Not sure that is a positive.

thepianoman 4 years, 9 months ago

LMAO. Yeah, isn't that the truth. Instead of Topeka on the google home page...it should be "toe-puke-uh" That's more appropriate...lol.....

CreatureComforts 4 years, 9 months ago

Oh come on this is hilarious. It's April Fools, just have a laugh.

Chrissy Neibarger 4 years, 9 months ago

I say "good for them!" This will be the most recognized name for the day. Any good publicity for the state of Kansas in general is good!

Fugu 4 years, 9 months ago

This is great. This turned out to be the best marketing strategy that Topeka has ever had. You can't lose when the most visited website in the world names itself after you.

pizzapete 4 years, 9 months ago

funny stuff! I have Topeka as my home page.

Mackadoo 4 years, 9 months ago

It seems this front page is only visible to people of Kansas. Outside Kansas, the name "Google" at the top of the page still remains.

pagano 4 years, 9 months ago

Mackadoo- The name change is visible inside and outside of Kansas, within the US.

beatrice 4 years, 9 months ago

Shows they have a sense of humor. Good for them.

Is anyone else sick of the pop-up ads when you first click on a story? Does anyone do anything other than instantly click it to make it go away?

headdoctor 4 years, 9 months ago

CreatureComforts (anonymous) says… Oh come on this is hilarious. It's April Fools, just have a laugh.


I am laughing and in so many ways. I think the blog of the CEO that includes a small disclaimer says it all. Translation. Topeka, enjoy your day of fame compliments of April Fools and Google, but there isn't much chance you will be picked as their project site. Thanks for the amusement.

Eric Holscher 4 years, 9 months ago

Note that Google are also a large user and supporter of Django, which was developed here in Lawrence as well. It was what they based their App Engine platform on, among other things.

lindsaydoyle 4 years, 9 months ago

"backwards, back-WOODS, slow cow-town called Topeka. If you happen to be in this town, take a good look around- the people all look the same, not caring about their appearance or the way they carry " etc

barrypenders and others who seem to think Lawrence is such a superior place. I was born and raised in Lawrence and have lived in Topeka. Topeka has Lawrence outclassed in every way. From its economic base, to its streets, parks and especially its people. What happens when you live in a place surrounded by spoiled little KC children who think they're adults? Arrested development. Who does Lawrence call when they have a plumbing or electrical problem? Lawrence is full of educated idiots who could never figure out how to use a pipe wrench. The Lawrence I grew up in is no more. It has turned into a KC kindergarten. When the higher education sector of the economy fails- and it will- Lawrence will be like a ghost town.

KansasPerson 4 years, 9 months ago

Remember this one from ten years ago? http://www.google.com/mentalplex/

Stimulus, April Fool's Day, and Penderpants live unprecedented

Court jesters bless us all

KansasPerson 4 years, 9 months ago

And Google isn't leaving out the other countries. England gets to have fun today today too:

http://www.google.co.uk/

(read the part underneath the search box)

KansasPerson 4 years, 9 months ago

Hmmmmm, the UK one doesn't seem to have the link anymore, but it led users to this: http://www.google.co.uk/intl/en/landing/translateforanimals/

:)

Joshua Montgomery 4 years, 9 months ago

This is the best marketing boon that Topeka has ever seen. This will be seen by over 100 Million Americans today.

Goes to show that strong community support of technology pays off.

Note: The City of Topeka's website has been crushed by the traffic. Feeling sorry for their IT staff today.

geekyhost 4 years, 9 months ago

Gee, this is the first I've seen this paper mention that ultra high speed bandwidth bid. It's almost like they were trying to bury the story. They didn't mention our city also having a bid for the network, which we did, or that there was a website for community support of the proposal. Hmm, why would they coughSunflower Broadbandcough want to do that?

bearded_gnome 4 years, 9 months ago

problem is: if I say "I topekaed her." am I then guilty of a hate crime, or even sexual harrassment?


yes I read it that way too, sure Topeka you changed your name, pandered like heck, but you ain't gettin' the goodies and instead, you are the butt of our big high-tech joke.

geekyhost 4 years, 9 months ago

I wouldn't give Topeka the network. My reasoning can be concisely summed up with one sentence: Fred Phelps on ultra high speed broadband.

CreatureComforts 4 years, 9 months ago

"if I say "I topekaed her." am I then guilty of a hate crime, or even sexual harrassment?"

Topeka her? I hardly knew her!

"Fred Phelps on ultra high speed broadband. "

123,000 people lose out because of one nut job who may not even be around much longer, god willing?

Tom Miller 4 years, 9 months ago

Mackadoo (anonymous) says…

It seems this front page is only visible to people of Kansas. Outside Kansas, the name "Google" at the top of the page still remains.

Not so, Mackadoo...I live "elsewhere", and I see "Topeka" on mine...

Tom Miller 4 years, 9 months ago

Mackadoo (anonymous) says…

It seems this front page is only visible to people of Kansas. Outside Kansas, the name "Google" at the top of the page still remains.

Not so, Mackadoo...I live "elsewhere", and I see "Topeka" on mine...

kvital1 4 years, 9 months ago

Mackadoo, it's everywhere. I live in South Dakota and it shows as Topeka instead of Google.

JRS 4 years, 9 months ago

Everytime I go to Google I crack up. This is hilarious.

Ricky_Vaughn 4 years, 9 months ago

Fugu (anonymous) says… This is great. This turned out to be the best marketing strategy that Topeka has ever had. You can't lose when the most visited website in the world names itself after you. =================== Agreed. Excellent publicity stunt for Topeka!

vwelch 4 years, 9 months ago

I love it! What a great coup for Topeka and Kansas!

jbiegs 4 years, 9 months ago

I knew it would be too much for some of you smug Lawrence residents to set back and let Topeka enjoy this. The comments on here show a lot about the class (or lack thereof) of the Lawrence residents. Hmmm.....this is especially amusing because I seem to think the same of the majority of the KU fans that post on here. Alright, all you editors in practice, the grammar police and those with low self esteem who feel the need to prove their worth on every post....go ahead and tell me how much better than me you all are. LOL

Ken Lassman 4 years, 9 months ago

Hey, I'm proud of Topeka for this one, and I'm a lifelong Lawrencian. Kudos to whoever came up with this clever campaign!

Liberty275 4 years, 9 months ago

Lawrence should rename itself "Ask Jeeves".

beatrice 4 years, 9 months ago

RI and hitme, thanks for the tips. I'll follow up on it.

Just to confirm, I'm also visiting from somewhere other than Kansas, and Google appeared as Topeka for me, too.

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