Beginning this summer, Google will instantly provide in-depth nutrition information upon searching for nutritional facts for more than 1,000 types of food.
This update will allow users to put in the exact quantity of any food they would like information about and will instantly provide a chart with an abundance of nutrition facts alongside a general description of the food.
“This is a huge improvement to what it’s been because people have been frustrated trying to find this kind of information,” said Roya Soleimani, senior communications associate for the search team.
Soleimani explained that it is difficult for people who are diabetic or trying to eat healthier to find nutrition facts on fruits and vegetables because they don’t have labels. “It is really empowering people to make the decisions they want and to be as well-informed as they can be.”
The new program can be used on a mobile phone with the Google Search app. When you use the voice search, your phone will actually talk back to you, providing you with an opportunity to ask it questions and receive audio answers back.
“I’m typing all day long and the ability to speak quickly and at my own pace and at my own volume, without feeling like a robot, is really exciting,” Soleimani said.
The voice search has been configured to understand the context of the question it is being asked.
“I can say, 'How many calories are in coffee?' and then tap the microphone again and say, 'How about beer?'” said Soleimani. “I can do that without having to repeat the word ‘calories’ because it’s understanding the context of your question and is able to continue that conversation.”
The app has information for a wide variety of food ranging from basics like carrots to more complex dishes like chow mein.
However, the app cannot yet provide information for brand food items like a McDonald’s Big Mac, as Google wants to make sure its data is entirely accurate, Soleimani explained.
“There was no easy way to answer those questions before,” Soleimani said. “You found yourself in many different websites without getting a good or solid answer. So the fact that we are able to provide this data accurately and quickly for over 1,000 foods is something we’re really excited about.”