The latest from Google? Giving users the ability to get instant carbohydrate, calorie, sugar, sodium, fat, and other nutritional data for over 1,000 fruits, vegetables, and meats — at the click of the search button.
If you live in the U.S., the feature is probably already available to you, or will be within the next two weeks.
If you search for "carbs in an apple" or "fat content of a California avocado," the Google results page won't just give you a list of relevant websites, it will provide you with the exact number you're looking for, with the ability to change the specific variety of the food (California avocado versus Florida avocado, for example), and the portion size.
This new offering gives diners with special nutritional needs easy access to the information they're looking for. A diabetic diner, for example, can quickly look up the amount of carbs in a food item so that he or she knows how much insulin to take to offset it. Anyone on a strict diet will appreciate being able to look up calorie counts quickly.
This search update is part of Google's "Knowledge Graph," which gathers relevant information from a variety of sources and presents it alongside or above the traditional search results. You can already see the Knowledge Graph in action when you ask Google to complete a math problem ("what is 31,098 divided by 6") or give a word's definition ("define POS system"). Do a search for the word "Monet," and Google will provide his biography, popular artwork, and similar artists next to the search results.
As Google continues to expand the types and amounts of foods that nutritional search covers, the possibilities are endless. A Google search of a popular fast-food meal could show potential allergens, for example.
Google will continue to expand this new feature's options and available foods, but it's already fun to see what nutritional information you can get from it. This is a step in the right direction toward making nutritional information easily accessible for even the least health-conscious diners. This is also a step toward the general public expecting to see this everywhere, clear and accurate. Makes me smile a big huge smile.
Betsy Craig brings 20 years of food service industry experience to MenuTrinfo, LLC a menu nutritional labeling Company. Her commitment to the betterment of the food industry and her desire to affect the dining public are the driving forces behind her new company Kitchens with Confidence, LLC.