Google’s favorite holiday

April 1, 2010

Searching for April Fool’s jokes on Google is a bit like hunting for Easter Eggs.

The search giant filled the site with an unknown number of pranks on Thursday, as has become custom in recent years, starting with its homepage, which it renamed after the capital of Kansas.

Chief Executive Eric Schmidt said in a blog post that he had renamed the company Topeka Inc, in a sign of respect to the midwestern U.S. city that last month unofficially named itself after Google in a bid to persuade the Internet giant to build a super-fast Internet network in the town.  “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,” Schmidt said in the blog post.

Other merrymakers at Google said they developed an application for Android smartphone that translates animal sounds into human speech. A pig named Bella allegedly exclaims “new person smells good” in a demo video.

The team behind Google’s Gmail email service warned of a failure that stripped all vowels from emails (“@ll th3 v0w3ls @r3 m1ss1ng fr0m Gm@1l.”) . The developers the Chrome browser unveiled new sound effects. Google’s team that creates digital versions of printed books said that were now available in 3D, using red-cyan 3D viewing glasses. A team of physicists bragged that they had found an extra division in the universe using Google Maps’ Street View feature.

It appears that business will return to normal at Google on Friday

Schmidt said that the name change is a one-shot deal to celebrate April Fool’s day and not a sign that he will show any favoritism to Topeka. Google is holding a contest to decide where to site its first super-fast high speed networks, and Topeka is just one more more than 600 candidates eager for the technology.

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