Google Enters Agreement with Topeka, KS. Plans to Change Name to Topeka
From the AP (via Yahoo):
Topeka, KS - Google is a household term, and has been so for years. Recently it has been added to the dictionary as a verb. Today it entered an agreement that will make the iconic search engine name a thing of the past.
Last month Topeka mayor Bill Bunten changed the name of his city to Google. At least for a month. And in response, Google did something too. As of 1:00 a.m. April 1st, 2010, Google is officially Topeka. A contract was announced at 9 PM Thurday night after hours of heavy, largely secret, negotiating. At a joint press conference Google CEO Eric Shmidt endorsed the deal and added to skeptical members of the press corps: "Our service will not change; that is what has drawn people, a different name will not change this." Mayor Bunten similarly endorsed the deal claiming it would bring a new industry to the town: "Every day there are more than 3.2 million searches for 'google' on Google, or should I say Topeka, if that many people search for Topeka every day all of America will have searched for us in less than 100 days. Some of those people are bound to come to Topeka. If we can get even 1% of them to come to our dusty little capital we will bring in nearly $15 million in tax revenue."
The deal has numerous perks for Topeka (the company), including no taxes on any real estate, as well as services sold within the city for the next 20 years. A building uniquely suited to Topeka’s needs will be leased, for $1 a year, to the search engine giant for the same time period. In addition the city will take out a $10 million ad from the company for the next half decade. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Topeka will have the chance to develop their Fiber for Communities program with absolutely no government interference. Emergency legislation to allow this has been put before the state legislature and, according to spokesman Tony Hus “will be handled promptly as soon as the state congressmen return from the Easter holiday”.
Topeka, the town, also gets benefits from the deal, including more than $1 million in free advertising on the search engine bearing their name; and, of course, the publicity that comes with having their name on the biggest internet corporation in the world. The officials in the city hail the deal as a key to bringing work to the growing number of unemployed within the city limits. The town plans to “add displays that are typical of a western city, including staged bar fights, shootouts, and corrals with live horses” according to town spokesperson Jim Onn.
Some critics are worried that despite the added publicity few tourists will come to the capital of Kansas. Among those who disagree with the deal is frequent, and fiery blogger Allen Firste who states “No one in their right mind would want to go to that hell hole, I don’t see how the (name) change will help the town.” Several economists, most notably, Allan Greenspan, have criticized the deal claiming the government has grossly overestimated potential gains and have not fully accounted for the costs. However, since Mr. Greenspan, who helped create the largest housing bubble in our nation’s history is against the deal most economists are for it, calling it an excellent example of how government and industry can work together.
Topeka (the company) plans to change names on products slowly, changing the name on the home screen immediately, but waiting almost two weeks before changing the name of their mail service to “Tmail” and will wait nearly a full month before changing the domain name.
The initial change can be seen at the google homepage.
Happy April Fools all!!!