Food search trends: Google adds nutritional data to search

03/06/2013

Google has updated its search results to include details on calories, carbohydrates, proteins, sugars, and other information pertaining to nutrition, as the internet giant looks to capitalise on food search trends related to healthy eating.

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The move comes as more people flock to the web for advice on health and nutrition, and comes as part of Google’s new Knowledge Graph, which is designed to integrate more contextual information into search and uncover new connections or links between topics.

The company's Google Glass head-mounted, wearable computer system is poised to offer similar functionalities.

The nutrition feature is designed to use natural language-type searches, letting people ask, for instance, "How much protein is in a banana?" or "How many calories are in an avocado?"

Queries can either be typed or spoken using Voice Search on mobile or the desktop.

If people really want to get things done fast, searching just for "banana" would also serve up nutritional information, Google said.

Announcing the move on its official blog, Google product manager Ilya Mezheritsky wrote: “Figuring out how to make smart choices about some of our favorite foods can often be a cumbersome and daunting process, so we’re hoping we can make those choices a little bit easier.”

You can look up everything from fruits to vegetable, meats to gram. Natural language searches such as “what is the calorie count in an eclair” may effectively throw up an insightful result. A Knowledge Graph helps Google in making results more accurate, pertaining to particular users.

The blog stated, “When you ask for ‘summer squash carbs’, we include ‘zucchini’ as a relevant food in the dropdown, because it is a type of summer squash.”

Currently the nutrition information for more than 1,000 fruits, vegetables, meats and even meals like burritos and chow mein can be accessed using the feature.

The search feature will be rolled out over the next 10 days to U.S. users in English only and will be available for desktops and Google's Android and iOS apps. It will return relevant nutrition information to the top of the user's search results under an expansion box, which includes dropdown menus to toggle between other related foods or serving sizes.

Google will be adding more food search trends and expand the language support.

Read the official blog announcement here

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