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April Fool! Parodies on Google or is the joke on us?

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Thu, Apr 1, 2010 at 11:35 am

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April Fool! Parodies on Google or is the joke on us?

Google’s April Fool joke this year – renaming its search site “Topeka” – was a self-congratulatory disappointment compared with some of the funny self-parodies of previous years, for instance, here or here.

The mayor of Topeka in March announced a month-long renaming of Kansas’ capital city to “Google, KS” as part of the city’s bid to win one of the coveted spots in Google’s proposed high speed broadband network project. Today Google gave Topeka a pat on the back for the tribute.

But pranksters on the web came up with good ones though. Reflecting Google’s expanding corporate aspirations and global reach, a few seem almost real, if not in April 2010, then maybe 2020?

The future of cloud computing for the US government:

PC World reports “Google Acquires the Internal Revenue Service”: “Google announced today that starting in Fiscal Year 2011 it will begin merging its operations with the the Internal Revenue Service. This move will streamline the operations of both entities, yielding greater efficiencies and customer satisfaction. What will change for consumers? Nothing at first, but over time, consumers will notice that they’ll be able to both manage their finances right within Google Docs and to submit their taxes via a choice on the File menu, ‘Submit taxes now.’ Eventually, even that last step won’t be necessary as Google will have all the information it needs without any action by consumers.”

Reporting on China, Danwei, in “Google to develop geothermal energy in China“  said  “…what Google now plans to do with their Beijing and Shanghai offices, and the engineering talent that they have spent the last four years recruiting and developing: the the tech giant plans to stop or radically cut funding for all Internet, advertising and mobile businesses in China, and turn their R&D teams exclusively over to Google’s clean energy development projects.”

In China? Maybe not, but Google has actually already invested in research on geothermal energy in the United States  on a project that was subsequently abandoned due to earthquake fears.

If not geothermal Google, how about nuclear Google?

TechCrunch’s April 1 “exclusive” reports “Google to go Nuclear” saying “Google has acquired a company that has created a new process for highly efficient isotope separation, we’ve confirmed from multiple sources. The primary use of this technology, say experts we’ve spoken with, is uranium enrichment.”

And, ominously quotes an anonymous source: “It would be trivial for anyone with this technology to build a nuclear weapon… Google, which has been shaken by its inability to counter Chinese censorship and hacking efforts, may be engaging in enrichment research as part of a new effort to simply protect itself from outside threats.”

Funny or futurism?  I think the parodists above are just making sly comments on the direction Google is heading. First they take Topeka, and then onwards.

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This post was written by:

Margot Williams

- who has written 49 posts on Inside Google.

Margot Williams has more than two decades of experience in roles as investigative researcher, research editor, database editor, technology trainer and library director at The New York Times, The Washington Post, Gannett newspapers and Time Warner. She was lead researcher on two Pulitzer Prize-winning teams at The Washington Post for reporting on terrorism in 2002 and for an investigation of the use of deadly force by the District of Columbia police in 1999. Margot is the co-author of “Great Scouts! CyberGuides for Subject Searching on the Web” (Cyberage Books, 1999) and contributed to the “Networkings” column in The Washington Post for five years.

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