[real-eyes] Google Topeka

  • From: "Reginald George" <sgeorge@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <real-eyes@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 1 Apr 2010 18:32:58 -0500

The official Google blog entry for the day.  I would think Kansans would be 
loving it.

A different kind of company name
4/01/2010 12:01:00 AM
Early last month the mayor of Topeka, Kansas stunned the world by announcing 
that his city was changing its name to Google. We've been wondering ever 
since how best to honor that moving gesture. Today we are pleased to 
announce that as of 1AM (Central Daylight Time) April 1st, Google has 
officially changed our name to Topeka.

We didn't reach this decision lightly; after all, we had a fair amount of 
brand equity tied up in our old name. But the more we surfed around (the 
former) Topeka's municipal website, the more kinship we felt with this fine 
city at the edge of the Great Plains.

In fact, Topeka Google Mayor Bill Bunten expressed it best: "Don't be 
fooled. Even Google recognizes that all roads lead to Kansas, not just 
yellow brick ones."

For 150 years, its fortuitous location at the confluence of the Kansas River 
and the Oregon Trail has made the city formerly known as Topeka a key 
jumping-off point to the new world of the West, just as for 150 months the 
company formerly known as Google has been a key jumping-off point to the new 
world of the web. When in 1858 a crucial bridge built across the Kansas 
River was destroyed by flooding mere months later, it was promptly rebuilt - 
and we too are accustomed to releasing 2.0 versions of software after stormy 
feedback on our 'beta' releases. And just as the town's nickname is "Top 
City," and the word "topeka" itself derives from a term used by the Kansa 
and Ioway tribes to refer to "a good place to dig for potatoes," we'd like 
to think that our website is one of the web's top places to dig for 

In the early 20th century, the former Topeka enjoyed a remarkable run of 
political prominence, gracing the nation with Margaret Hill McCarter, the 
first woman to address a national political convention (1920, Republican); 
Charles Curtis, the only Native American ever to serve as vice president ('29 
to '33, under Herbert Hoover); Carrie Nation, leader of the old temperance 
movement (and wielder of American history's most famous hatchet); and, most 
important, Alfred E. Neuman, arguably the most influential figure to an 
entire generation of Americans. We couldn't be happier to add our own 
chapter to this storied history.

A change this dramatic won't happen without consequences, perhaps even some 
disruptions. Here are a few of the thorny issues that we hope everyone in 
the broader Topeka community will bear in mind as we begin one of the most 
important transitions in our company's history:

Correspondence to both our corporate headquarters and offices around the 
world should now be addressed to Topeka Inc., but otherwise can be addressed 
Google employees once known as "Googlers" should now be referred to as 
either "Topekers" or "Topekans," depending on the result of a board meeting 
that's ongoing at this hour. Whatever the outcome, the conclusion is clear: 
we aren't in Google anymore.
Our new product names will take some getting used to. For instance, we'll 
have to assure users of Topeka News and Topeka Maps that these services will 
continue to offer news and local information from across the globe. Topeka 
Talk, similarly, is an instant messaging product, not, say, a folksy 
midwestern morning show. And Project Virgle, our co-venture with Richard 
Branson and Virgin to launch the first permanent human colony on Mars, will 
henceforth be known as Project Vireka.
We don't really know what to tell Oliver Google Kai's parents, except that, 
if you ask us, Oliver Topeka Kai would be a charming name for their little 
As our lawyers remind us, branded product names can achieve such popularity 
as to risk losing their trademark status (see cellophane, zippers, 
trampolines, et al). So we hope all of you will do your best to remember our 
new name's proper usage:
Finally, we want to be clear that this initiative is a one-shot deal that 
will have no bearing on which municipalities are chosen to participate in 
our experimental ultra-high-speed broadband project, to which Google, Kansas 
has been just one of many communities to apply.

Posted by Eric Schmidt, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Topeka Inc. 

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