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Google Gag Puts Topeka on Top of Web’s April Foll’s Day Prank

TOPEKA, Kan. – For a month, Topeka was Google. For a day – April Fools’ Day – Google was Topeka.

In a nod to Kansas capital, this unofficially changed its name to Google, Kan., for a month in a bid to become a test site for the company’s planned super-fast fiber optic network, the popular search engine changed its name yesterday to Topeka.

Visitors to the company’s homepage, google.com, were greeted by the name “Topeka” in Google’s familiar multicolor typeface. Below it was a link to a lengthy blog posting by Google Inc. Chairman and CEO Eric Schmidt explaining the move.

Topeka, Mr. Schmidt said, took its name from the Kansa Indians as “a good place to dig for potatoes” along the Kansas River.

“We’d like to think that our Website is one the Web’s places to dig for information,” Mr. Schmidt wrote.

Topeka Mayor Bill Bunten’s office was inundated with calls.

“We’ve had a lot of fun with it. It’s brought attention to our city,” Mr. Bunten said.

Google wasn’t the only institution to have fun with April Fools’ Day.

The intuition of higher learning formerly known as Johns Hopkins University made a surprising announcement: It was finally dropping that first, awkward “s” and changing its name its name to John Hopkins University.

The alteration was quickly made to the university’s Website, and the media relations staff posted photos of the ditched letter being removed from around campus: A worker in a neon work vest filling in an engraved “s” on a marble sign. A crane pulling a metal “s” off a building.

Even the campus bookstore, in an announcement on the university Web site, was stocking up on Wite-Out to help faculty members update their cards.

“We give up,” university President Ronald Daniels said, “We’re fighting a losing battle here. And we strongly suspect the extra ‘s’ was a typo in the first place.”

  • YouTube offered the curious option of watching videos in text essentially a stream of code instead of images.
  • The comedy video site FunnyOrDie.com was revamped as Bieber or Die, its homepage riddled with the tennybopper star Justin Bieber.
  • Starbucks poked fun “at itself by unveiling new “micra” and “plenta” sizes, one absurdly small, the others as big as a bucket.”