Google is making it easy to find specific dishes at nearby restaurants, whether it’s a yellowfin tartar, soup dumplings, or something else entirely.
A new search feature the company announced Wednesday will let users search for a particular dish by typing its name and “near me” to see a list of results with images showing where it’s available nearby. You can also click on each image to see details about the price, ingredients and restaurant. The feature will also allow users to search for vegan, vegetarian or spicy versions of dishes. Google
(GOOG) Plans to roll out the feature through Google
(GOOG) app and its mobile search website in the coming months, initially only in English and in the United States.
Google introduced the feature during an online event where it showcased updates to its search and mapping products. The updates are meant to build on the company’s long-standing goal of making it possible to search for all sorts of things in many ways, whether that’s typing a question into a search box, snapping a photo of a purple dress, and typing “green” to indicate that you want to find it in a green tone, or by humming an unknown tune on your phone to find out what it is.
In an interview with CNN Business, Sophia Lin, Google’s general manager for dining experiences in search, pointed to soup dumplings (a meal that, for her family, is “one of the ways we bond”) as an example. of an item than the dish -The specific search function will make it easier to track it down.
You can currently use Google to search for dishes at nearby restaurants, but the results can be hit or miss. For example, when I searched for “soup dumplings near me” earlier this week, the top results included multiple restaurants that had soup and/or dumplings, but no soup dumplings.
That’s because the search engine currently places you in a list of restaurants that it thinks are related to any specific dish query. Sometimes a restaurant list will include the dish you’re looking for; sometimes it won’t. And even if you do find evidence of the item you want, such as in a user review that appears alongside the restaurant’s listing, you may not get much detail beyond its availability.
For the new feature to be accurate, Lin said Google relies on data from sources including reviews, photos and videos submitted by users to Google Maps, details that restaurants use to do things like update their menu information and from some restaurant websites. The company uses artificial intelligence tools to help it sort through information, doing things like highlighting dishes that are likely to be vegan or vegetarian. The AI also helps match photos of dishes to written menu items, which can be particularly tricky for a computer when dealing with an image of a food such as soup dumplings, as the different types of dumplings a They often look the same on the outside.
“The problem we’re really trying to solve with this feature is, ‘How do we tackle that problem head-on that you’re just looking through endless menus trying to find what you want to eat?’ And make it a lot easier for people to get right to the plate they’re looking for,” Lin said.