Picture this: A picky eater at a restaurant, perusing the menu for something specific (obviously not a man). Something salty but not too salty. It should have some serious kick. And a side of something sweet sounds good, too. But she sees no options in sight.
Then, out of nowhere, a helpful waitress sits down beside her and listens to her requests. She scribbles something down on her notepad, disappears to the back, and returns moments later with the guest’s plate. And? It’s exactly what she wanted.
This obviously doesn’t happen in real life. (Trust me, I used to be a waitress. Mind reading was not one of my services). But what if it happened online when you were looking for recipes? Well in a sense, that’s exactly what Yummly does.
Yummly is a new recipe search engine utilizing some of the web’s best food blogs and recipe sites to bring exactly what you’re looking for right to your food-hungry fingertips, almost effortlessly.
And what sets Yummly apart is something called semantic search. This futuristic tool goes beyond keywords to understand the context of what you’re looking for. For instance, you can search by ingredient, course or dietary restriction. Or you can browse recipes and preview their ingredients and image before you select them. You can also ask for recommendations based on your preferences and they’ll shoot you some tasty suggestions if you don’t have something specific in mind.
There’a also a neat tool that allows you to specify your taste. You can drag a cursor left to right to make the recipes more or less salty, savory, sour, bitter, sweet or spicy. Pretty sweet, huh? Or spicy, depending on how you look at it.
And another valuable feature is a nutritional information box, which provides nutritional statistics for each recipe. The box is identical to the labels you see in supermarkets so you know exactly how many calories, fat, sugar, etc., each dish contains.
And the good news? It looks like Yummly isn’t going anywhere soon. In fact, they’re growing. Thanks to some generous donations, they recently received some major backing to the tune of $6 million to expand their reach. This means users can expect the site’s 600,000 recipe database to expand and diversify. (Maybe they’ll add our recipes at Diets in Review? Wouldn’t that be nice?) Yummly’s ultimate hope, says CEO Dave Feller, is to add personalization features to make the site more of a ‘cooking portal’ than a search engine. Sounds cool to us.
They’re even rivaling search engine king Google when it comes to food. And Google’s scrambling to keep up and even responded with a plan to roll out semantic searching in the next few months. But Yummly’s already ahead of the game so they may have the upper hand on this one.
Personally? I’m rooting for them. I like a good underdog story. Plus, the quicker I can find my low-fat peanut butter ice cream pie the better.
March 23rd, 2012