Saturday, February 26, 2011

Google’s New Recipe Search: Lasagna Redux

A tiny knife and fork icon has just joined the Google search family with the launch of Google "Recipe View," a niche search that lets home cooks search for recipes in new ways across the foodie universe.

According to Silicon Valley’s Mercury News, Google’s new recipe search function is a response to the proliferation of recipe websites, blogs and the like that are filling our search pages. Home cooks run more than 10 million recipe searches a day (I personally account for at least 500 of those) using Google's regular search engine, and though we all know it works, there are indeed problems.

Do a Google search for a Thanksgiving holiday condiment we all know and love, says the news article, and it will net you its botanical background, corporate information for Ocean Spray and concert reviews for The Cranberries before it gives you the exact relish recipe you’re looking for.

Opt for Epicurious and you'll get cranberry recipes straight off, but only the ones from their archives, mainly from Gourmet and Bon Appétit magazines. Can’t find exactly what you want, then do another search on  All Recipes, Food Network and any other favorite recipe sites you frequent.

Google's solution to this is a new tab, accessed in the same way you access Google's images, news or shopping searches -- with a single click from the home page. The recipe-only search feature casts its net across the entire web, including Epicurious and other recipe-centric sites, as well as foodie blogs.

With the new recipe search, all you’ll get is that. Recipes. According to the people at Google, their team has sliced and diced" the recipe results, so you can set your own search parameters -- by clicking boxes on the left side of the page.

You can specify what ingredients you have on hand, whether you need gluten free, how much time you have to cook, or the maximum number of calories you’re willing to consume on a brownie. If you don’t want to spend three hours making your lasagna or prefer it with béchamel instead of mozzerella, tell them. They’re there to please.

FYI: Google’s new recipe search isn’t the only game in town. Here are some favorite stand-bys.

This recipe archive includes dishes from Bon Appetit and Gourmet magazine as well as other sources;
AllRecipes: This immense site includes recipes created and reviewed by home cooks;

Food Network: Recipes, tips and videos from Food Network chefs and TV stars;

YouTube: This site includes more than 600,000 cooking videos posted by professional chefs and home cooks; Try Mark Bittman’s fennel and celery salad to start off. Trust me on this.

Chow: This San Francisco-based website includes professional-caliber cooking tips, recipes and food-related columns;  Always fun.

To be perfectly honest, I haven’t gone seriously trolling through the new recipe search engine yet, but I have put iGoogle on my home page for easy access to it.  I just typed in “lasagna” to see what would come up, and I’ve been asked to refine my request for better results.  The options I’m given include:
Vegetarian. Worldwide cuisine, Akins (sic), Diabetic, Seafood, Crockpot. Gluten-free, Frugal and Vegan.

So this selection thing is good, I suppose, cutting down on wasted time and all that. But I’ve got one reservation.

Sometimes I find really interesting stuff on the internet by browsing through entries I may not have specifically targeted. It’s like meandering. Oftentimes  a stroll is a nice thing to do rather than rushing straight to my destination. But only if I’m not in a hurry, of course. And how often does that happen? Not often. I guess that's why Google geeks get paid more than I do. They're one step ahead of me, and already figured that out.

So I guess everyone will have to love the inexpensive gluten-free seafood lasagna for diabetics I'll be making in my crockpot for dinner tonight. The search didn't have a box to check under the categories "tasty" or "delicious."

1 comment:

  1. Linda, it seems Recipe View is not yet available here in Singapore or in Canada, where you are. Frustrating! (I, too, set up iGoogle as my home page, but "recipes" is not one of the clickables in the column on the left side of the page.) But we live in hope.
    One question - lasagne in a crockpot???

    P.S. I haven't yet tried Malca's Mandel Broit recipe, but it looks delicious and I plan to get to it soon.
    I am most grateful to Malca for being the first to post following my suggestion. Come on, everybody else!!!