The Google diet -

The Google diet

Jesse Brown on the search giant’s effort to index the contents of your fridge


In their mission to “organize the world’s information,” search giant Google has moved from websites to books to maps, and now to food. The nutritional information of one thousand food items have been indexed and will begin popping up (to U.S. users only, sadly but predictably) in searches over the next 10 days.

Google’s food search seems pretty intelligent. You can search for corn and get detailed nutritional stats, or you can ask “how many carbs are in corn”? You can also search for “sweet grains” and get a list, presumably including corn. All your informational corn needs will be satisfied.

Google claims you can also search for dishes, using burritos and chow mein as examples. I’m skeptical. After all, not all burritos are created equally, not in size or ingredients, and it’s hard to imagine a return on that search that wouldn’t generalize to the point of uselessness.

That said, one thing Google could do, and hopefully will, is index all known fast-food menu items and packaged grocery products.  These foods are as standardized as iPads, their nutritional data is already available (though often a bit hidden) on packages and on the websites of fast food chains. It would seem a cinch to plug this info into Google’s Knowledge Graph.

Then, diet and nutrition apps could specifically tell eaters which on-the-go foods fit into their diets. With GPS data added to the mix, you could get instant options–say a McWrap across the street, or if you’re willing to burn some calories and walk for it, a Whopper downtown.

Follow Jesse on Twitter @JesseBrown

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