Giant internet companies are entitled to a good laugh too.
On April 1, also known as April Fool's Day, web users went to Google’s home page to find that the leading search engine had changed its name to Topeka, as in Topeka, Kansas.
“Early last month the mayor of Topeka, Kansas stunned the world by announcing that his city was changing its name to Google,” reads a blog post from Eric Schmidt, CEO of the company formerly known as Google. “We’ve been wondering ever since how best to honor that moving gesture. Today we are pleased to announce that as of 1AM (Central Daylight Time) April 1st, Google has officially changed our name to Topeka.”
It’s part joke, part reality. The City of Topeka, Kansas did unofficially change its name to Google last month to endear itself to the company, which is planning an experimental ultra-high-speed broadband project for some lucky city. Topeka, Kansas is just one of many cities vying to be selected.
“The City of Topeka welcomes the opportunity to participate in this unique technological experiment, if selected as Google trial community,” according to a proclamation from “Google”, Kansas Mayor Bill Bunten.
But, Schmidt does offer a disclaimer, and reports indicate that Google will be Google again on April 2.
“We want to be clear that this initiative is a one-shot deal that will have no bearing on which municipalities are chosen,” concludes Schmidt’s post.
Schmidt says they decided to run with joke when they dug into the history of Topeka and found that it was a frontier city similar to Google’s role as a company on the frontier of the information age.
“When in 1858 a crucial bridge built across the Kansas River was destroyed by flooding mere months later, it was promptly rebuilt—and we too are accustomed to releasing 2.0 versions of software after stormy feedback on our ‘beta’ releases,” writes Schmidt.
“The word ‘topeka’ itself derives from a term used by the Kansas and Ioway tribes to refer to ‘a good place to dig for potatoes,’ we’d like to think that our website is one of the web's top places to dig for information," added Schmidt.