There’s a “Wizard of Oz” joke to be made here: The city of Topeka, Kansas has unofficially changed its name to “Google” in an attempt to get on the Mountain View tech giant’s radar as a test bed for new fiber-optic technology that would bring it Internet connections at top speed.
The Topeka Capital-Journal wrote that Mayor Bill Bunten signed a proclamation Monday that designates the town as “Google” for the duration of March, in an attempt to make it a more palatable choice for a test market than some of the other cities in the running–like Grand Rapids, Mich., and Baton Rouge, La. It’s not intended to be as permanent as the Oregon town that actually renamed itself Half.com in exchange for some cash, free stuff, and mockery.
The town can’t legally change its name if it intends to change it back, and then there’s the fact that Google owns all sorts of intellectual property pertaining to its brand name. But the Capital-Journal says that there is technically no legal barrier to the issuance of a proclamation gently encouraging people to refer to Topeka as “Google.” You know, it’s sort of like when you’re a little kid and you wish your name were cooler so you start telling everyone to call you by a new one of your choice, and the blitheness of childhood prevents you from noticing the smirks that ensue every time you politely ask an adult to start referring to you as “Jethro Skywalker…”
But hey, if this campaign actually gets the city a super-fast Internet connection, I’ll stop laughing.
Folks outside New Mexico may not know about it; but, the fashion of changing a town’s name for fun and profit got it’s first real boost here.
Next time you’re driving south from Albuquerque down to the new SpacePort outside Las Cruces, stop and have lunch in the town that was called Hot Springs up till it won Ralph Edwards’ 1950 radio contest. When it became Truth or Consequences, NM.