Google launches microformat-powered recipe search

Today, Google launched a new search feature: Recipe View!

The new search category enables users to discover recipes that have been marked-up following the hRecipe specification from a variety of sources with a new level of accuracy. Google have made it easy for users to find recipes, because authors are now making it easy for them to locate their data from within their web pages.

Wired reports:

“Our intent is to make better user expereince to see if we can jumpstart this ecosystem,” Menzel said. “That way when someone thinks ‘Hey, I just invented a great recipe, let me put it on my blog,’ and that person’s recipe should be a candidate.”

But Menzel insists it’s got to be easy and that Google doesn’t want to push busy webmasters to do any work that won’t result in more traffic.

“This is really a pragmatic response to the dream of the semantic web,” Menzel said. “We would love if the XML world existed — it would make search awesome, but no one is going to to do it. But we need to start somewhere, and a lot of the internet is built manually by people and their time is valuable.”

ReadWriteWeb also notes:

Google didn’t indicate if it has plans to expand this sort of markup into other search efforts, but it’s a good reason – at the very least for recipe publishers – to mark up your websites.

We’re very excited about this new feature from Google, and are pleased to see the organisation continue to support and implement open standards that are simple for authors everywhere to use.

For more information on the specification, check out the hRecipe wiki pages.

Google adds support for hCalendar and hRecipe Rich Snippets

The first quarter of this year has seen Google really make tracks with Rich Snippets, which they announced back in May of last year, with microformat implementions popping up in results for all manner of content.

hCalendar

One of the original, and certainly most obviously useful formats, hCalendar has made major head-roads in being adopted across the web as a standardised way to mark-up event information. Those who took the time to add this format to their site are now reaping the benefits, with Google clearly making the most of this rich data.

hRecipe

hRecipe is certainly a relatively young format, but always looked to be a promising starter bringing the timeless interest of geeks and food together.

With a view to make organising your summer BBQs simpler this year, Google have made a major update to their search result pages which now highlight recipes in the results, showing important information such as ratings, cooking and prep times. The information being displayed is formed from extracts of hRecipe marked up data.

hRecipes in Google results

Mark Wunsch, a developer for FoodNetwork and Prism parser, who now finds his microformatted recipes displayed on Google search results pages had this to say:

When we revisited our recipe pages on FoodNetwork.com a few months ago, it was one of our priorities in Front End Engineering to embed hRecipe. We knew that it would be only a matter of time for tool support to come along to utilize our recipe data. As Front End Engineers, we have real control over what are pages output, and we have a real opportunity maximize the amount of data that a tool like Google can glean from our markup. It would be a poor practice to not take advantage of microformats when something as powerful as Google recognizes their importance.

There’s further work to do with ironing out the kinks in the hRecipe format, but I think this certainly shows the benefit of being an early adopter and getting these formats out into the wild for real stress-testing. Congratulations to all those involved!

With Google now officially supporting these two formats, plus people and reviews, we eagerly anticipate their further adoption of additional microformats into Rich Snippets.

In Search of Microformats

It’s been a very busy week for users of microformats. We made our announcement of the important new value-class-pattern over the weekend. That’s the culmination of a huge amount of brainstorming and community effort, and offers great improvements to using microformats accessibly and in international contexts.

Then since Tuesday, things have gone stratospheric. Google announced support for microformats right in their search engine, through a new ‘Rich Snippets’ feature, exposing hReview and hCard content within search results for many millions of users.

Rich Snippets give users convenient summary information about their search results at a glance. We are currently supporting data about reviews and people. When searching for a product or service, users can easily see reviews and ratings, and when searching for a person, they’ll get help distinguishing between people with the same name. It’s a simple change to the display of search results, yet our experiments have shown that users find the new data valuable—if they see useful and relevant information from the page, they are more likely to click through.

Kavi Goel, Ramanathan V. Guha, and Othar Hansson in the Google Webmaster blog.

It’s a big day. hCards and hReviews are already published in huge quantities all over the web (see lists of sites that publish hCard and hReview), but this is the biggest user-base so far to benefit from the consumption of microformats in an application.

It’s again wonderful to see microformats embraced as a way to enhance user experience and to see it shipped to such a large audience, so congratulations to Kavi, Ramanathan, Othar and their Google team on the launch.

Initially Rich Snippets are only displayed for a handful of domains, so if you’re an hReview or hCard publisher, add yourself to Google’s waiting list now!. And if not already listed, update our examples in-the-wild wiki pages too (hCard, hReview).

If you’re a developer new to microformats we highly recommend you refer to the large set of code examples on our wiki, which will help you get started: hCard examples, hReview examples. There’s also full hCard and hReview documentation.

Finally, if you need help checking your code, check the debugging tools wiki page for validators, linters and debuggers.

It’s fantastic to see microformats applications hit such a large search audience. From the earliest experimental index at Technorati, to Yahoo putting microformats into mainstream search with SearchMonkey in March of last year; we’ve come a long, long way, and it’s looking great. With Google adding support for two of the major microformats, it really underlines structured data as a concrete foundation of the open web, and modern web development in general.

And yet more! An immediate benefit to everyone from the Rich Snippets release: Yelp have added hReview and hCards to all of their listings. You never need copy and paste a restaurant address by hand again!