An international brand resource for neighbourhoods, towns, cities, regions and economic clusters.

The Town That Put Google on the Map

Posted by Riley Taiji
If you were like me this April Fool's Day and awoke early to Google some good ideas for pranks, you probably noticed something quite strange. Early on the morning of April 1st, Google announced that it was officially changing its name to Topeka in honor of the small town. Their main page, where it once read 'Google', now spelled 'Topeka' in that famous Google rainbow Arial lettering.

Incredulous and still a bit sleepy, I did a bit of research on what exactly the significance of Topeka was. It didn't take me long to find that—at the start of March—the town of Topeka, Kansas officially changed its name to Google, Kansas. In its official blog, Google, or at that time, Topeka, said that after the Kansas town's name change, the search engine had "been wondering ever since how best to honour that moving gesture".

In probably one of the greatest publicity stunts of all time, the capital city of Kansas, a town which, save for on an episode of South Park and a small mention in the film, "Almost Famous", had little to no public attention—now found itself dead centre in the public eye. News of the bold name change reached nearly every blogger and news page on the Internet—a feat nearly every ad agency on the planet would die for. In response to the unprecedented publicity, the mayor of Google cleverly quipped, "Don't be fooled. Even Google recognizes that all roads lead to Kansas, not just yellow brick ones."

The town of Topeka's name change was, like the search engine's April Fool's joke, unofficial and all in good fun. They were trying to get a spot in Google's, "Fiber for Communities" program that gave certain communities higher Internet speeds of up to 100 times faster. If that didn't get them in, I don't know what would.

But now, almost 3 months after the fake name change, Topeka still remains very much on the radar. The stunt earned the town a lasting place on the web as that 'Google town'. Now, you can't search Kansas without seeing Topeka at the top of the results. The town probably not only succeeded in earning itself a faster internet connection, but also the kind of public attention that many other Southern towns try to feebly garner through the use of "Home of the World's Largest ________" ploys.

So, to pay homage once more to the Kansas capital, I will now direct you to the town's tourism site in the hopes that you too might enjoy their beautiful scenery, vibrant culture, and lightning fast Internet speed. Go Topeka!


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