Google Changes Its Name (Sort of)
CNBC.com News Editor
There's a party in Topeka today!
Google hasn't yet made its decision on which cities will be chosen but decided it had to honor the gesture somehow.
So, today, the company returned the favor, changing its name to Topekafor an April Fool's joke.
"I love it!" said Topeka Mayor Bill Bunten, who issued the proclamation a month ago changing the city's name to Google, Kansas. "They've got a great sense of humor, and I think we do, too."
It was even the top story on the front page of the Topeka-Capital Journal today under the headline: "Go to Google, er Topeka, no Fooling" and on their Web site, it was "Google Gag Tickles Topeka."
Jared Starkey, one of the Topekans who got this whole Google frenzy started in the first place, said he was napping on the couch when he heard the news that Google was changing its name today.
"I pulled a Joe Biden," he exclaimed. "I said, "This is a big [bleep]-ing deal!"
Then he called his mom to tell her the news.
This is just the latest of Google's longstanding tradition of April Fool's pranks. On past April Fool's days, it's announced Google TiSP, a broadband service that runs through your toilet and Gmail Paper, a service for gmail users that allows them to have all of their emails printed out on paper and sent to them.
As for this year's Topeka prank, Google said it was a well thought-out decision.
"We didn’t reach this decision lightly; after all, we had a fair amount of brand equity tied up in our old name," Google said in a press release announcing the joke. "But the more we surfed around (the former) Topeka’s municipal website, the more kinship we felt with this fine city at the edge of the Great Plains."
Google notes the similarities between the company and Topeka, such as the fact that "Topeka" apparently comes from an Indian word for "a good place to dig for potatoes," while Google is a great place "to dig for information."
Google says the name change will require quite a few adjustments: "Google employees once known as 'Googlers' should now be referred to as either 'Topekers' or 'Topekans.'" If you want to get the latest headlines, check "Topeka News" and if you need to ping someone quickly — "Topeka Talk" them.
If you don't believe me, Topeker it!
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