Google's April Fools' prank: We're now Topeka

By Aaron Smith, CNNMoney.com staff writer


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- In the rich tradition of April Fool's Day pranks, Google has renamed itself after Topeka, Kan., accompanied by an absurd explanation from the company's chief.

On Thursday morning, the company's home page was titled "Topeka" instead of "Google," although still in its distinctive blue-red-yellow-green font.

google_topeka.jc.03.jpg
How Google, er, Topeka's home page looked Thursday morning.

Why? Because in March, Topeka Mayor Bill Bunten announced that he was informally changing the name of his town to "Google," just for one month. He told CNN that he was doing it for "fun." This is Google's tit-for-tat explanation, according to its official blog, posted by CEO Eric Schmidt.

"Whatever the outcome, the conclusion is clear: we aren't in Google anymore," blogs Schmidt.

April Fool's Day carries a long tradition for pranks and punks, which affect every aspect of life, from the school yard to the board room. Since the advent of the Internet, companies and individuals have gotten inundated with funky e-mails making wild claims, on this day in particular.

Google has made a name for itself as one of the more proactive pranksters in the business world. Every year on April 1, the company tries to punk its followers with a new prank.

Past pranks

The naughtiness stems back to 2000, when Google claimed that its "MentalPlex" could read your mind through your computer screen, allowing users to conduct searches on sheer brain power.

"With MentalPlex, you just project a mental picture of what you want to find," explained Google, in its 2000 posting, accompanied by a hypnotic spiral.

Last year, Google claimed its site was featuring the world's first 3D browser, but this was just another case of April Fool's bunk.

The strange tradition of April Fools' mass media pranks goes back to 1957, when the BBC broadcast a weird and untrue television segment about Swiss farmers harvesting spaghetti from trees.

Naturally, many of the viewers mistakenly thought the BBC story was real. To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 16,805.41 127.51 0.76%
Nasdaq 4,483.72 30.92 0.69%
S&P 500 1,964.58 13.76 0.71%
Treasuries 2.27 -0.00 -0.09%
Data as of 4:01am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Ford Motor Co 13.78 -0.62 -4.31%
Microsoft Corp 46.13 1.11 2.47%
Apple Inc 105.22 0.39 0.37%
Bank of America Corp... 16.72 0.12 0.72%
Yahoo! Inc 43.50 0.90 2.11%
Data as of Oct 24

Sections

New York headlines took a straight forward and direct approach with NYC's Ebola news. More

The midterm elections are around the corner, and the economy remains a top concern. With unemployment down and inflation low, why do people still feel the economy stinks? More

Shares of Facebook recently topped $80. They've more than quadrupled from their post-IPO lows of two years ago. Can Mark Zuckerberg keep the momentum in mobile going? More

Host a furniture market. Here's how small town High Point, N.C. rakes in this much money -- twice a year. More

If you're looking to fly this holiday season, the clock's ticking to get the best prices. More

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.