In the life of many Chromebooks and other Google software, there is a process that many new things go through known as dogfooding. Dogfooding is simply the everyday use of software and/or hardware by the very developers making and working on them. In the case of Google, dogfooders are used to test out new products and services that are soon to be released to the world. Dogfooding allows for real-world testing to happen before general consumers actually get their hands on a new product.
Dogfooders aren’t always developers, though. Sometimes Google opens up Dogfooding to general users as well and the whole thing feels a bit like a Beta testing phase. That was the case with Google Voice as it received its makeover not long ago. Gabriel was actually part of the process on that one and he obviously doesn’t have anything to do with the project from a development standpoint. With hardware, however, Google tends to keep the dogfooders confined to those working on the project.
We’ve known a few folks who’ve been asked to dogfood devices before they were actually released (they let us know they were testing these devices but never told us the name of them until they launched) and each time that testing happened within weeks of the product release or announcement. This has only been on a few occasions, but each time the dogfooding process was followed by a product announcement or release within a month or so.
‘Atlas’ Dogfooding Reference
Today, Gabriel came across a commit that states quite clearly that ‘Atlas’ has moved into the dogfooding stage of development. If the language in the main commit isn’t enough, we’ve also thrown in one of the comments in the commit as well:
Atlas: Add firmware builder for dogfood builds
Patch Set 2:
Adding branch builder for Atlas firmware targeted at dogfooders
While this commit doesn’t really tell us anything further about what ‘Atlas’ is or who is making it, it does let us know that ‘Atlas’ has moved into a new phase of development and, based on previous experience with such things, we should expect this device to get announced within weeks.
Sure, there’s a chance this doesn’t happen and the mysterious ‘Atlas’ could simply continue being a enigma, but our gut is telling us this could be the first sign of ‘Atlas’ finally making it out of development purgatory. We still hold to the idea that this is a madebyGoogle Chromebook and until it is announced and proves otherwise, that’s the story we’re sticking with. It simply needs to get released at this point.