Android Nougat: why did Google snub Android Nutella and Neyyappan?


Last week, Google officially announced the name of the seventh version of Android. Dubbed Android Nougat, the name will undoubtedly throw many people’s pronunciation problems into the fore, and likely increase nougat sales worldwide.

But while I do have a soft spot for the strange confectionery, there was a more popular name.

Google allowed users to submit name suggestions for its next version of Android. We didn’t quite get Boaty McBoatface, but we did get a few interesting ideas. Android Naan, Android Nectarine, Android New Mexico Chili and even Android Nori were all suggested. But according to Google Trends search data, Android Nutella was actually the most popular of all.

Prior to Android Nougat’s search traffic spike last week (for obvious reasons), Android Nutella was the most searched-for term. That’s perhaps thanks to comments made by Android’s SVP Hiroshi Lockheimer on Medium prior to Google I/O. Nevertheless, it’s still worth noting.

Perhaps even more interesting is the latter-May spike of “Android Neyyappam”. The Indian rice fritter — although believed to be a real contender for the Android name — was ultimately swatted aside by Google, perhaps in favour of the more easily-marketable (at least in the West) Nougat name.

But wouldn’t Nutella make for the ultimate marketable slogan? Possibly.

When Google and Nestle formed a partnership for KitKat, Google told Mashable no money was exchanged in the deal. Instead, it was a mutually-beneficial marketing campaign.

“KitKat has been a favorite candy on the team for some time, so for the K release, we asked if they’d be willing to lend their iconic candy bar to its name,” Google explained on Android’s Google Plus page back in 2013.

This deal, according to The Verge’s report, took around six-months to complete between November 2012 and March 2013 at MWC.

General worldwide search results this year also suggests that “Nutella” is just a more popular search term than “nougat” regardless of Google’s involvement.

Perhaps the latter involved countless hours of negotiations. Perhaps some money was exchanged after all, and it was Nestle that ultimately benefitted. Perhaps Ferrero — the owner of Nutella — had on intention of licensing its product’s name to Google.

Either way, people who love their hazelnut chocolate spread are feeling pretty hard done by now.

Feature image: allison.hare via Flickr

Andy Walker, former editor


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