Pittsburghers spell out Google in bid for network

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It was a true Google image.

In an attempt to boost its chances to host Google's experimental high-speed Internet network, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and residents celebrated "Google Day" this afternoon by spelling out the company name for a photo Downtown.

Posed during lunchtime for photographers atop the City-County Building, a group of participants, some wearing black-and-gold clothes, were shepherded into letter formation and instructed to hold up white signs saying the city is "Reserved for Google."

The event drew a mix of city employees on lunch break, conscripted pedestrians and earnest supporters.

The crowd mugged for the cameras invisible from the ground, cheering and waving the white signs as city officials choreographed the shoot.

"There's like some protest going on," said a bypasser into her cell phone.

The city launched a campaign against more than 600 other applicants on March 17 with the website www.PittsburghGoesGoogle.com and the slogan "Ready, willing and able."

Mr. Ravenstahl submitted the city's application from an outside laptop after the photo shoot, just hours before the competition deadline.

Mayor Ravenstahl said Google will pick a city in about four months that demonstrates enthusiasm for the project, which has given some creative license to applicants.

Topeka, Kansas, was renamed "Google" for the month of March and mayors elsewhere have jumped into lakes or shark tanks.

Asked if the city could expect a name change to Mayor Googlestahl, he replied, "We've still got four months left."

Erich Schwartzel: eschwartzel@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1455 First Published March 26, 2010 5:45 PM


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