Nation's Cities Shamelessly Pander to Google

What won't we do for faster Internet?

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Across the nation, mayors, civic boosters and city residents are pandering to Google like never before. That's because the search giant has promised to build a lighting-fast broadband network in one or more American cities. We first checked in on this phenomenon when the mayor of Topeka, Kansas unofficially changed the city's name to Google, Kansas.

That was just the beginning. In Sarasota, Florida the mayor swam with sharks. In Duluth, Minnesota the mayor jumped into the icy waters of Lake Superior. The allure of 1Gb/sec fiber, which delivers speeds 100 times faster than what average Americans get now, has proven intoxicating. A survey of the wacky antics towns have performed to court Google:

Santa Monica, California The people of this fine town staged a kind of city-wide musical replete with smiling old ladies, local police officers and plenty of  "ra ra ra's."

Duluth, Minnesota This city of 84,000 staged a mock press conference, plunged its mayor in freezing cold water, and got Minnesota senator Al Franken to star in a comical video promoting the town's efforts:

Grand Rapids, Michigan sends its message loud and clear with a rocking promotional slide show set to Cheap Trick's I Want You to Want Me. It's filled with adorable facts like being the "minor league sports capital of the US according to the New York Times" and being the first city to add fluoride to the public water supply [Full disclosure: this charming city is the author's hometown]:

Sarasota, Florida  Mayor swims with sharks + promotional video:

Madison, Wisconsin created a Google flavored ice cream

Baltimore, Maryland  appointed a "Google Czar" to aid the city's bid and launched a Web site

Peoria, Illinois created this unusually emotional cartoon slideshow set to a dour piano ballad:

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.