Oops! Signs of Google 'dogfooding' visible on Verizon Galaxy Nexus

By JR Raphael (@jr_raphael)

Verizon Galaxy Nexus Google Dogfooding

Well, well -- I've just made an interesting little discovery on the new Verizon Galaxy Nexus.

The Galaxy Nexus, as you probably know, is the first phone to run Google's Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich, release. Ice Cream Sandwich introduces major changes to the Android interface, and most of Google's own Android apps have been updated to reflect the new look.

One such app is Google Voice; when installed on an Ice Cream Sandwich device, Google Voice uses a new ICS-like interface. And that interface seems to have a remaining sign of Google's internal employee product testing process, generally referred to as "dogfooding" (derived from the concept of "eating your own dog food").

If you look in the Google Voice app's settings on the Verizon Galaxy Nexus, you'll see an extra item at the bottom of the screen: "Dogfood settings."

Verizon Galaxy Nexus Google Dogfooding (1)

Tapping the "Dogfood settings" item brings up a sparse screen with an option, not surprisingly, to submit feedback to Google.

Verizon Galaxy Nexus Google Dogfooding (2)

Following the feedback command takes you to a detailed "Google Feedback" form. The form has room for a description along with checkboxes to choose whether or not you want to include system data and a screenshot from the application. If you scroll down, there's also an option to choose which account you want to use to send the report; you can pick from any Google account connected to the phone or opt to send anonymously.

Verizon Galaxy Nexus Google Dogfooding (3)

Though I've yet to discover anything similar in any other Ice Cream Sandwich-level app, the presence of a feedback form alone isn't entirely unusual for Google -- but the "dogfood" phrasing certainly suggests this was something left over from the company's internal testing.

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No harm done, of course, in the unexpected inclusion (which I imagine will be temporary). I point it out only because I find it interesting; it's rare, after all, for us to get a glimpse inside Google's prerelease product testing process.

UPDATE: I've heard from numerous users who say they see a similar option in Google Voice on pre-ICS phones, so this may not be a strictly ICS-related phenomenon after all. Curiously, two different pre-ICS phones I checked didn't have the option present. Go figure. Either way, just a bit of random Android trivia to add some extra flavor into your day.

For more on Ice Cream Sandwich and the new Galaxy Nexus, be sure to check out my hands-on impressions of the phone and my guide to banishing bloatware on your ICS device.

JR Raphael writes about smartphones and other tasty technology. You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+.

Article copyright 2011 JR Raphael. All rights reserved.

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