Proper Topeka usage

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According to Eric Schmidt, "A different kind of company name", The Official Google Blog 4/01/2010:

Early last month the mayor of Topeka, Kansas stunned the world by announcing that his city was changing its name to Google. We’ve been wondering ever since how best to honor that moving gesture. Today we are pleased to announce that as of 1AM (Central Daylight Time) April 1st, Google has officially changed our name to Topeka.

Schmidt's post includes some instructions on the proper use of the company's new trademark:

I was pleased to see that the instructions were graded as to degree of violation, rather than being an all-or-nothing matter.

The new name is going to take some getting used to —

Although we hate to see that jaunty Google logo going unused on the internet, an early-morning board meeting at Language Log Plaza decided that it would be inappropriate to dilute our brand equity by picking it up:


  1. Kathy said,

    April 1, 2010 @ 6:29 am

    Great April Fools joke. You didn't get me. LOL

  2. Faldone said,

    April 1, 2010 @ 7:27 am

    If they didn't get you it wasn't a good April Fools joke.

  3. Ben Zimmer said,

    April 1, 2010 @ 8:57 am

    The gradated approach to trademark abuse is reminiscent of a 2006 post on the official Google blog, with examples ranging from "good" to "very, very bad." As I said in a Word Routes column, the Google post "tried to be both light-hearted and legalistic (a tough mix)." The "very, very bad" example was "I googled him on Yahoo and he seems pretty interesting." Here, AltaVista gets to stand in as the rival search engine — a bit of retro humor since AltaVista hasn't been a serious competitor in about a decade. (And now Yahoo owns it.)

  4. Sili said,

    April 1, 2010 @ 9:01 am

    I see the problem with your rebranding. You forgot to send it past your Youth and Pop Culture desk – they learn to photoshop with Gimp in the womb. (Or should that be woom? wwm?)

  5. C.D. Bates said,

    April 1, 2010 @ 9:38 am

    HA HA! From a business view, I thought they were crazy until I realized what today was.

  6. Denise said,

    April 1, 2010 @ 1:56 pm

    I thought the usage guides was a spoof on this:

  7. Nathan Myers said,

    April 1, 2010 @ 3:06 pm

    I can understand why Google would like Google employees not to talk about googling on Bing. Likewise Xerox, and xeroxing on a Konica. In U.S. law, as I understand it, verbs are not subject to trademark, whatever the effect might be on some other word that is registered, but I'm not up on case law. Law being law, I find it hard to believe that anything so clearly spelled out could stand against a century of clever argument and corrupt jurisprudence, so I'm curious what effect case law has on that simple principle.

  8. Julie said,

    April 1, 2010 @ 5:11 pm

    The Adobe guide reminds me of a now-defunct style guide for using Sun's trademarks:

    Let's Java-tize!

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