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Google-as-Topeka tops Web's April Fool's gags

By Doug Gross, CNN
  • Google announces April Fool's name change to "Topeka"
  • Gag plays off of city's change to "Google," a stunt to lure Google's broadband project
  • ThinkGeek offers iCade, an arcade game console for iPad
  • Reddit let everyone be an administrator; chaos ensued
  • Internet
  • Google Inc.
  • Apple iPad

(CNN) -- Want to read this story later, but afraid you'll forget where you saw it?

Just Topeka it.

Google led a wave of technology-related April Fool's Day gags Thursday morning, announcing on its homepage that the search-engine giant had changed its name to that of the Kansas town.

The announcement, along with the word "Topeka" replacing "Google" in the site's multicolored logo, is a riff on the city "renaming" itself Google for a month.

The stunt was part of the city's bid to be picked for Google's "Fiber for Communities" program, which Google says will provide Internet access 100 times faster than normal.

"We didn't reach this decision lightly; after all, we had a fair amount of brand equity tied up in our old name," Google ... er ... Topeka CEO Eric Schmidt said in a blog post. "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."

The blog even gave a list of proper and improper usage of the new name. "Before our blind date, I did a Topeka search on him" got the green light, while "Before our blind date, I topeka'd him with AltaVista" did not.

The post did point out that the "honor" didn't mean Topeka has a leg up in Google's broadband plan.

YouTube saves a buck or two

Forget high-definition. It's time for text-only video.

YouTube said Thursday that new bandwidth-sucking video technology is cutting into its profits, so it's now offering TEXTp, a low-tech, text-only mode that looks like a grainy cross between "The Matrix" and when satellite interference is screwing up your TV reception.

Users could switch to the joke mode on at least some videos by clicking on 480, the default bandwidth, and scrolling up to TEXTp.

"By using text-only mode, you are saving YouTube $1 a second in bandwidth costs," read a message that appears when viewing in TEXTp. "Click here to go back to regular YouTube and happy April Fools Day!"

New use for the iPad

ThinkGeek, that purveyor of the latest in awesome tech-nerd gizmos and gadgets, was offering an add-on for the highly anticipated iPad: the iCade.

The fictional iCade looks just like a miniature version of an old-school arcade game, and a photo features two of them: one with a docked iPad showing a basic screen and the other appearing to run the classic game Donkey Kong.

The site's "sales pitch" makes fun of the Apple-fanatic furor over the iPad, which hits stores Saturday.

"After the glow of the initial announcement wore off, many of us came to the conclusion that the iPad was actually pretty useless," it read. " 'It's a giant iPhone!' some said. Others exclaimed, 'WTF, no Flash!?' Still, we knew that most Apple fanbots (us included) would have to have one anyway."

The page links to other "suggested items" for sale, including the Screaming Knife and Tell Me Your Secrets Bear.

Other favorites:

• Electronics maker Toshiba got into the act with the TubeTop, an inflatable laptop with an internal inner tube.

• On news-sharing site Reddit, everyone is an administrator. The result was regular users banning each other and using their unlimited voting power to move stories to the top of the site. No. 1 as of this writing? "Reddit, here's a picture I just drew ... " followed by "Quick! Use your new admin powers to upvote the crap out of this puppy dog."

• Instead of latitude and longitude coordinates, smartphone users who type "Where am I?" into Google's search field get answers such as "Neptune," "Mordor" and "Entrance to Hogwarts."

• Google Maps is offering users who pan down to Street View a new option: 3-D. Of course, if you don't have a set of 3-D glasses handy, tough luck.

• Wikipedia's main page offered an interesting array of articles, from a featured piece on the cherished custom of wife-selling to a headline about how Sony had accidentally used a time machine to zap some of its customers back to 1999.