Google, Kansas?

“You are now entering Google, Kansas.”

You think I’m kidding about this? Nope. Enjoy

The city of Topeka wants so badly to be picked for Google’s broadband experiment, it changed its name for the next month to Google, Kansas.

Did you catch that last part? “For the next month.” So Topeka will ONLY be known as “Google” in March. That sounds almost as dumb as New Mexico passing a resolution declaring Pluto is a planet in their state. Oh, wait. They did?

Never mind.

Anyway, Topeka. You were beginning to explain yourself?

It all started with Jared Starkey, a 26-year-old who runs Lamp Development, a small web-design business in Topeka.

Starkey came up with the idea to change the city’s name to Google, and it caught the eye of a local TV-station manager, Jim Ogle, who brought it to the mayor’s attention.

“So, I just issued a proclamation,” Topeka — er, Google — Mayor Bill Bunten explained, crediting Starkey with the idea. “If we were chosen, we would have it and others wouldn’t, and that would be a positive for us. … It’s another way to let people know what we’re doing here,” Bunten said.

So is there something about the wireless service in Topeka you would like to tell us about, Mayor?

Essentially Topeka is a guinea pig for Google’s test run of a broadband system that is much faster than what we all use now. But to be fair, this isn’t the first time a city has renamed itself because they wanted to suck up to a giant corporation. A city in Texas formerly known as Clark was renamed “DISH, Texas” in 2005 after the satellite TV provider. (Which meant that all 55 of the houses in the town got satellite TV.)

I’m just worried. The last time Kansas tried to rebrand itself they ended up with Munchkins and Wicked Witches everywhere.

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