Google Search Adds Nutrition Information

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A new voice-activated feature in Google Search offers nutrition details on hundreds of foods and meals

Google’s latest voice-interactive Google Search app now can help users get nutritional details for more than 1,000 food items and meals, all by asking Google Search for help.

The new feature was unveiled in a 30 May post by Ilya Mezheritsky, the product manager for the app, on the Google Inside Search Blog.

Fruits, vegeteables, meats

“Figuring out how to make smart choices about some of our favourite foods can often be a cumbersome and daunting process,” wrote Mezheritsky. “So we’re hoping we can make those choices a little bit easier: starting today you will be able to quickly and easily find extensive nutrition information for over 1,000 fruits, vegetables, meats and meals in search.”

The new service can help users get nutritional details on a wide variety of food items, from the basics of potatoes and carrots to more complex dishes like burritos and chow mein, wrote Mezheritsky.

search_350_4e31937751f11To conduct such searches, users can tap the microphone icon on the Google Search app and then “simply ask, ‘How much protein is in a banana?’ or ‘How many calories are in an avocado?’ and get your answer right away.”

The Google Search app will then answer to your nutritional question and provide more details on what you are searching to find.

“This new nutritional information builds on our work on the Knowledge Graph, which brings together all kinds of information from across the web that wasn’t easily accessible,” wrote Mezheritsky. “The graph helps us connect things that are related, even in cases when those foods have a completely different sounding name from what you asked. For example, 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.”

The new capabilities can help users when they are seeking nutritional information such as fat content, calories and other details about foods they are preparing to eat. It can answer questions about how much fat and calories are in popcorn, and it can tell you how much sugar or carbohydrates are in granola and other foods.

The new nutritional feature is available immediately in English and will be rolling out in the United States over the next 10 days, according to Mezheritsky.

“Over time we’ll be adding more features, foods, and languages. So tap the microphone, give the feature a spin, and soon explore and discover the ins and outs of over 1,000 of your favourite foods.”

Mobile availability

The Google Search apps with the new search capabilities are available for Android, iPhone, iPad and Windows 8.

Back in 2010, Microsoft experimented with a similar feature in its Bing search service. The feature incorporated data from computational engine Wolfram Alpha on a wide variety of foods.

In the global search engine marketplace, Google Search continues to maintain a huge lead. The latest GlobalStats StatCounter figures for May 2013 show Google leading all major competitors with 90 percent of the global search market, followed by Microsoft’s Bing with 3.7 percent of the market.

Yahoo Search holds 2.88 percent of the global market, while China’s holds just under 1 percent. Russia’s Yandex search engine holds a 0.33 percent share of the market.

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Originally published on eWeek.

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