Last week, Google launched a new recipe search engine that it added as a recipe view to its results pages. The engine mines recipes from around the Internet and incorporates user data into the result rankings. As Harry McCracken at PC World pointed out, it doesn’t pull every recipe from the web, only those that have been properly coded — and this is exactly what’s really cool about it. Ryan Singel of Wired explained:
… the entire search is built on structured data that webmasters have built into their webpages using markup code that’s invisible to humans but is extremely useful to machines. The dream of the so-called semantic web is built upon the idea that web pages will be full of such underlying tags so that search engines can parse a webpage to learn someone’s e-mail address or know exactly what a restaurant’s operating hours are by scanning underlying code invisible in the browser.
To develop Recipe View, Google used its rich snippets tool, an element they launched in 2009 that mines user-embedded data in web pages. This sort of search engine sharply points to the importance of including metadata on web pages to maximize the consumer search experience.
Recipe View allows users to place limits on the search as well, excluding certain ingredients and choosing parameters such as cook time and dish calories. A search for “tilapia,” for example, gave a top result for “Broiled Tilapia Parmesan” that had a rating of almost five of five stars after more than 5,000 reviews. Incorporating consumer information into the ranking results may end up being very handy for the end user (I’ll be preparing this dish later this week).