What is Google Pigweed and what could it do?

(Pocket-lint) – There was Android (though Google didn’t invent it). There was Chrome OS. There will be Google Fuschia. And now there is Pigweed. 

That’s the name of Google’s latest foray into the world of operating systems but as with many other Google innovations, it’s spectacularly unclear as to exactly what it’s for.

However, some initial details are starting to appear, so we’ll keep this feature updated with the latest.  

What’s in a name? 

As for that rather odd name, Pigweed gets its name from plants that are considered as weeds that “thrive in disturbed soils” according to American Indian Health. That’s intriguing – could it be an OS for disruptive devices? 

Pigweed is actually edible – as its name suggests, pigs eat it, while the seeds spread on the wind. Again, could this hint at the potential ubiquity of the OS? 

The name was discovered by Redditor lgats who pointed towards the Pigweed trademark. Although surely such a, er, weedy term won’t be consumer-facing?

One thing is for sure – it’s definitely an operating system. The trademark filing refers to “computer operating software”.

How does it relate to Android and to Fuschia?

Fuschia OS appears to be intended for all types of devices and there is a school of thought that it’s an eventual replacement for Android and Chrome OS. It definitely appears to be for ARM-based devices rather than Intel or AMD chips. 

More interesting is that Pigweed had a reference in the Fuschia OS source code thanks to a keen-eyed editor. The reference was subsequently changed to Fuschia…could they possibly be the same thing? 

As 9to5Mac points out, the developer who created the original code works across several Google projects and so it could just have been a typo. Nonetheless, it marks out Pigweed as an active project at the very least. 

9to5Mac also poked around in Google’s Chromium code to find any Pigweed references. The project was present as it has a bug tracking system which is referred to – however, there are no further details and the bug tracker isn’t accessible publicly. 

We’ll update this feature as we learn any other details about Pigweed during the coming weeks, months and – probably – years. 

Writing by Dan Grabham.

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