Over the years, Google has developed its fair share of operating systems — beloved and otherwise — including Chrome OS, Android, and most recently Fuchsia. It appears Google may be working on yet another operating system, “Pigweed,” according to a new US trademark application.

Spotted by redditor lgats, an apparent FCC and trademark sleuth, Google has filed a new trademark application with the USPTO for the name “Pigweed.” Reading through the application, Google states that the Pigweed trademark will cover “computer operating software.”

Unfortunately, the “Pigweed” name is the only real detail the listing reveals. Armed with that name, we’ve done some digging into what Google’s Pigweed could be.

First, the question on everyone’s mind: “What on earth is a pigweed?” The Brooklyn Botanical Garden can give you a better idea, but the gist is that pigweeds, otherwise known as amaranths, are leafy plants that are edible and actually nutritious. Some pigweeds, when fully grown, will actually dry out and form tumbleweeds, spreading their seeds as they’re tossed by the wind.

The first recorded mention of Google’s Pigweed that we could find is actually in code from Google’s other in-development OS Fuchsia. A proposed code change from November made direct reference to “pigweed” before being caught and switched over to “fuchsia.”

Google Pigweed

Unfortunately, we can’t take this alone as conclusive evidence that Google’s Pigweed and Fuchsia projects are related. The developer who proposed the change is involved in multiple Google projects and may have simply made a typo. That said, both developers in the conversation seem keenly aware of what Google Pigweed is.

The second and final reference we can find to Pigweed is in Google’s Chromium code repository, but is actually found in code related to “Monorail,” the issue tracker used by Chrome and some other Google projects. From this change, we learn that Pigweed has its own separate instances of the Monorail bug tracker and Gerrit code review. Sadly, both of these are currently closed off from the public.

For now, that’s where the evidence trail runs cold for Pigweed. Until Google decides to make more of Pigweed public, we’re not likely to figure out what purpose the OS will serve.

Of course, the big question is when should we expect Google to take the wraps off of Pigweed? There’s no easy way to guess the answer, though. The name “Android” was trademarked just five days before the OS was first unveiled in 2007. Conversely, the word “Chromebook” wasn’t trademarked until months after the first Chromebooks began shipping in 2011. Meanwhile, the name “Fuchsia” has been trademarked for over two years without being officially unveiled.

Dylan Roussel contributed to this article.

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About the Author

Kyle Bradshaw

Kyle is an author and researcher for 9to5Google, with special interests in Made by Google products, Fuchsia, and Stadia.

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