Anyone hitting the Google.com homepage Thursday who forgot it was April Fool’s Day may not have gotten the joke. Instead of the familiar rainbow-colored Google logo on the classic home page, visitors found themselves searching Topeka instead.  The search engine giant apparently decided to rename itself for the first day of April in homage to Topeka, Kansas.

Google becomes Topeka (Google.com)

Google becomes Topeka (Google.com)

Obviously, quite a few people were taken aback by Google’s name change Thursday morning. Google Trends (or Topeka Trends as it were…) was full of searches like “what does Topeka mean?” and “why does Google say Topeka?” Well, it all started when Topeka, Kansas unofficially changed its name to Google, Kansas for the month of March in a bid to become a test site for Google’s high-speed fiber-optic network. Google responded today by renaming their search engine “Topeka” temporarily as an April Fool’s Day prank.

“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,” Google CEO Eric Schmidt jokingly posted on the official Google.com blog.

“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.'”

The April Fool’s Day post from Google concluded by saying, seriously, that Topeka will not get an advantage when cities are chosen for testing the company’s new network.

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