No, not actual Kibbles n' Bits. "We eat our own dog food" is a phrase used by Google to describe its practice of using its own products in-house to increase brand awareness, get free testing and user feedback, and to simply demonstrate faith in what it produces.
So this week, Google apparently handed out G1 Dream handsets to about 85 percent of worldwide employees in lieu of cash bonuses, according to news reports.
The $179 T-Mobile smartphones built on Google's Android operating system are nice little gadgets, but the gift pales in comparison to the $20,000 to $30,000 bonuses Googlers have received in past years, according to Valleywag.
Of course, Valleywag's numbers may not be accurate. Or more precisely, wildly inaccurate. Some commenters on the site say Google's holiday bonuses have traditionally been only $1,000, while the much larger performance-based bonuses are calculated at about 15 percent of an employee's salary. Others speculate that the phone may be the Android Dev Phone 1, which is priced at $399, not $179.
Meanwhile, employees who already own G1 phones are not allowed to resell the new ones, according to an apparent Google HR FAQ unearthed by Gizmodo:
Q: Can I resell my phone?
Googlers should not resell any item given to them by Google. Please review our Personal Transactions policy ...
Nor will employees who would prefer cash to the dog food get their wish:
Q: I do live in an eligible country. Can I opt for the cash equivalent gift instead?
Only those Googlers in countries where it was not currently feasible to distribute Dream devices will be getting the cash equivalent gift. All other Googlers will receive a Dream phone.
Of course, a few extra greenbacks never gave anybody healthier gums and a shinier coat.