Welcome to Google, the new capital of Kansas

Google is looking for a test market for a new broadband service. In an attempt to get its attention, the mayor of Topeka, Kansas, has temporarily renamed his city Google – "the capital city of fiber-optics."

For the month of March, Topeka, Kansas, shown here, will be known as Google, Kansas – 'the capital city of fiber-optics.'

Let's say you're the mayor of Topeka, Kansas. Times are tough. The economy is still in turmoil; unemployment is high. You've heard about Google's plan to test ultra-high speed broadband in at least one US market. If Google picks your town, you'll get publicity, you'll get broadband service to at least 50,000 people, and hey – you might even get a few jobs out of it.

So how far would you go to lure Google to town? If you're anything like Bill Bunten, the mayor of Topeka, you might go as far to temporarily change the name of your city. That's right, folks: For the month of March, Topeka, Kansas, has been dubbed Google, Kansas, "the capital city of fiber-optics." According to the Topeka Capital-Journal, Bunten raised the issue at a recent council meeting at City Hall. He was met with no objections.

"I support pushing the 'send' button," Councilman Jeff Preisner said at the meeting.

Apparently those slaphappy folks over in Topeka have a history of shaking up city ordinance. In 1998, for instance, Mayor Joan Wagnon changed the name of the city to ToPikachu, in honor of the then-recently-launched Pokemon franchise. (No word yet on how the DMV handled that one.)

The Capital-Journal reports that Bunten was given the Google idea by Jim Ogle, the general manager of a local television affiliate. If Topeka could change its name "for a small doll that sounds like I sneezed," Ogle told the Capital-Journal, there was no reason not to change the name for the biggest Internet company in the world.

Google has asked cities to sign up for consideration before March 26, although it's unclear how soon the tech giant will make its decision on a test city. For their part, folks in Google, Kansas Topeka are already getting pretty excited. "I know Jim Ogle has played a major role in pushing for this," one Google-happy commenter writes on the Capital-Journal site. "I propose that for March we refer to him as Jim goOgle. Any objections?"

None at all.


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