What is Pigweed? A new name for Google's Fuchsia OS or a new operating system?

Google has filed a trademark for Pigweed with the USPTO, and it could be a new name for the under-development Fuchsia OS or it could also be a new operating system

Google has a penchant for unusual names. The search engine giant famously chose a confectionery-themed nomenclature for the various iterations of its mobile operating system Android, until the latest Android 10. Now, it seems that Google is after flowers and plants.

The Mountain View, California-based tech giant is long rumoured to be working on a yet-to-be-released operating system called Fuchsia – a term used for a genus of flowering plants. However, now Google seems to have chosen another name for the operating system as the company has filed a trademark for an operating system dubbed Pigweed – the commonly used name for Amaranth, a genus of edible plants.

Trademark is related to a computer operating system

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The Google logo (Mike Blake/Reuters)

The trademark filing for the Pigweed name was spotted by a Redditor in the United States Patent and Trademarks Office (USPTO) website. The trademark description suggests that the Pigweed is related to a "computer operating system", which makes it seem like Google could have chosen Pigweed as the final name for its under-development Fuchsia OS.

What is pigweed?

As mentioned above, Pigweed is the common name for Amaranth a type of leafy plants that are edible and nutritious. The name "pigweed" could have been coined by farmers who cultivated the amaranths as fodder for pigs. It does seem like a very odd choice of name for something related to technology and computers, but Google has been quite creative with its naming conventions before. So, we shouldn't be complaining.

A name change or something else?

Meanwhile, Pigweed could also be something more than just a name change. It could be an entirely different project altogether. According to a report from 9to5Google, the first mention of the Pigweed name was spotted in a proposed code change from Google's under-development Fuchsia OS, where the name was changed from Pigweed to Fuchsia.

However, this could just be a coincidence and cannot be taken as evidence that Google's Pigweed and Fuchsia project are related. A screenshot from the name change suggests that the developer who proposed the change may have simply make a typing mistake as he is involved in multiple Google projects. But it seems highly unlikely because both the developers in the conversation from the screenshot seem to be fully aware of Pigweed.

Could be a new OS for IoT devices

Another reference shows Pigweed in Google's Chromium code repository, but it is actually found in the code related to "Monorail" an issue tracker used by Chrome and other Google projects.

So, just the fact that Pigweed has been linked to a computer operating system isn't conclusive evidence that it could be related to Fuchsia. Pigweed could also be an entirely different project that Google could be working on. It could be something related to Chromebooks or even Google's IoT devices. It's impossible to say right whether Pigweed could just be a new name for Fuchsia or it could be something else, but it's an interesting choice of a name indeed.