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The thought of renaming Petaluma "Petagoogluma" briefly crossed the minds of the city's technology committee in its bid to become the winner of Google's super high-speed Internet contest.

"While that didn't necessarily have legs, it did show the creativity that's going on behind the scenes in getting this message out," City Councilman Mike Harris said.

Petaluma and Santa Rosa are among more than 120 communities across the nation using methods both wacky and serious to win Google's offer to provide an ultra-fast Internet network for residents in one or more American towns.

SMART, Sonoma-Marin rail representatives, are also working on an application, arguing that a 70-mile right-of-way through the two counties is a valuable asset.

As for renaming the town?

That's already been done, by Topeka, Kan., which officially renamed the city Google for the month of March.

Not to be outdone by its Midwest neighbors, Duluth, Minn. spoofed a press conference where it's heavily Scandinavian-accented "mayor" decreed that, yah, you betcha, every firstborn male in Duluth would henceforth be known as Google Fiber and firstborn females, of course, Googlette Fiber.

According to Google, the "Fiber for Communities" project is an experiment the company hopes will make Internet access better and faster for everyone.

Google plans to run optical fiber — the pavement upon which the information super-speedway travels — directly to homes in the chosen city or cities.

The speeds, as fast as one gigabit a second, would be fast enough to download an entire season of TV shows in about 30 seconds.

It announced the contest last month, for which communities of at least 50,000 and potentially up to 500,000 people are eligible. Beyond that, the criteria are pretty general.

Santa Rosa's chief technology officer Eric McHenry suspects Google is looking for a community that matches its long-term target demographics and is willing to work with Google on the installation of its infrastructure.

A Google spokesman said in a published report that "the most important thing is being able to deploy quickly and efficiently."

While some cities are using inventive tactics to attract Google's eye, others are taking a more serious approach to the 26-page application.

"I think ours will be more practical, I'll put it that way," McHenry said.

The city is creating a YouTube video that will include a diverse group of local government, business and neighborhood leaders pitching Santa Rosa's virtues.

Petaluma, known as Telecom Alley because of the tech startups in residence, has created a Facebook page that went from six fans on Monday to more than 450 Tuesday afternoon. Santa Rosa's Facebook group had 40 members late Tuesday.

Though both were growing, Huntsville, Ala., had both beat, with more than 7,400 fans Tuesday. Fresno's site, with 4,280 fans, urges residents to post messages and videos saying, "I want my Google fiber."

Petaluma and Santa Rosa techies say having Google test such a fast broadband network in the area would weave seamlessly with both cities' long-term goals of attracting clean tech jobs that support the local economy and reducing greenhouse gases.

It could also raise property values, draw new businesses and increase competition among Internet providers.

The deadline for entries is March 26, after which McHenry said there will likely be a first cut and further application process.

The fiber network Google intends to install would contrast with the technology currently available in Sonoma County, cable and copper phone lines used by Comcast and AT&T. Fiber can deliver Internet speeds between 10 and 100 times faster than the average Internet connection.