Let’s say you’re in charge of picking a restaurant for a family reunion dinner. You know your mom loves Italian food, but your niece and nephew are super picky about pizza. Your uncle insists on a great view, but your sister won’t go anywhere that doesn’t have good dessert. Oh, and you have to book a reservation by tomorrow. That’s a tall order — even for a foodie like you.
Sometimes finding a specific craving or determining a unique place to set a mood can take some time. When you’re searching for answers, it should come naturally and in a way that’s easy — especially when you’re catering to a family of picky eaters.
Today, we’re announcing a new set of features to help you find the perfect meal, from the first search to your first bite.
Satisfy your craving by searching for specific food dishes
Our research shows 40% of people already have a dish in mind when they search for food. So to help people find what they’re looking for, in the coming months you’ll be able to search for any dish and see the local places that offer it.
For example, my family loves soup dumplings, and we love trying new restaurants to find the juiciest, most flavorful ones. In the past, searching for soup dumplings near me would show a list of related restaurants. With our revamped experience, we’ll now show you the exact dish results you’ve been looking for. You can even narrow your search down to spicy dishes if you want a bit of a kick. No more digging through endless menus from different places to see if they have what you’re hungry for.
Use multisearch to identify and find food near you
Earlier this year, we introduced multisearch, an innovative way to search using images and text simultaneously.
For example, what if your friend posts a photo of a delicious-looking pastry and you don’t know what it is? Instead of messaging your friend and waiting for a response, you can use the Google app. Simply search a screenshot of the post to identify that it’s a kouign amann, a French pastry made with layers of butter and dough. Starting this fall, you can add “near me” to see bakeries nearby and try it yourself. Yum!
Get a better sense of what makes a restaurant special
How would you describe what keeps you coming back to one of your favorite restaurants? Maybe it serves one of the most authentic lasagna recipes you’ve ever had. Or maybe it’s where you’ve discovered amazing local artists on Thursday nights. When you’re exploring what makes a place unique, you want it to be as easy as getting a recommendation or an insider tip from a friend.
Star ratings are helpful, but they don’t tell you everything about a restaurant. In the coming months, you’ll be able to preview and evaluate restaurants to better understand what makes them special and help you make a decision. To make this possible, we use machine learning to analyze images and reviews from people (like you!) to find what makes a place distinctive.
See updated digital menus at your fingertips
Once you’ve found a restaurant that serves the dish you’re looking for, you’ll probably want to explore the menu to see if they offer something for everyone in your group. But it can be hard to find accurate menus online.
That’s why we’re expanding our coverage of digital menus, and making them more visually rich and reliable. We combine menu information provided by people and merchants, and found on restaurant websites that use open standards for data sharing. To do this, we use state-of-the-art image and language understanding technologies, including our Multitask Unified Model.
These menus will showcase the most popular dishes and helpfully call out different dietary options, starting with vegetarian and vegan.
We want to make searching for food easier and more natural so that you spend less time figuring out what to eat and more time enjoying the meal. Whatever you’re craving next, we’re here to help you find it.