Google nutritional information (watermelon nutrition facts)

I really, really wish Apple doubled down on Siri. When the intelligent personal assistant debuted as an iPhone 4S-exclusive back in October 2011, Siri was likened to a seismic shift that would vastly improve our interactions with the devices in our lives. And it did.

But merely nineteen months later, Google has leapfrogged Siri with Google Now, which combines the power of Google search with the company’s Knowledge Graph and top-notch voice recognition to deliver relevant info before you even asked for it.

But Google isn’t standing still. Today the firm has updated its native iOS Search app with “location improvements and bug fixes.” And just yesterday, it announced that nutritional information will start cropping up in search results across platforms, including iOS and Android applications that incorporate Google Now…

While today’s refresh of Google’s native iOS Search app is just a maintenance update, a far more interesting development is the roll-out of nutritional information in search results on the web and in Google’s native search apps on iOS and Android.

You’ll be able to ask Google questions like “How much protein is in a banana?” or “How many calories are in an avocado?” and get the answer right away, presented via a nicely laid out information card.

Depicted below are two such examples.

Google nutritional information (banana protein)Google nutritional information (avocado with options)
Banana protein data on the left and nutritional information on the right.

Of course, you’ll also be able to retrieve nutritional information on Google.com, by typing in your query or using your voice (see the below image), thanks to the latest Chrome browser update that incorporates Siri-like conversational voice search.

According to Google’s Inside Search blog, you’lle be able to “hear the answer to your specific question, see relevant nutrition information under an expansion and switch to other related foods or serving sizes.”

Tapping the power of Google’s Knowledge Graph which brings together bits and pieces of information that weren’t easily accessible, the system can even distinguish between foods that have a completely different sounding name.

Google nutritional information (web results)

Case in point: asking for “summer squash carbs” will include “zucchini” as a relevant food in the dropdown menu, because it is a type of summer squash.

Other types of nutritional-related queries include questions such as “How many calories are in popcorn?”, “What nutrients are in breadfruit?”, “Is there sugar in granadilla?”, “How many carbs in corn?” and so forth.

Nutritional information in search results is rolling out gradually in English to U.S. users over the next ten days, so don’t panic if you’re unable to research your favorite foods yet. The Internet giant says it’s going to add more features, foods and languages in the coming weeks and months.

I appreciate Apple enhancing Siri – it recently tweaked her to respond to longer queries with quotes on brevity – but there’s no denying that Google has the upper hand here and is moving at a faster pace.

Just out of curiosity, do you prefer Google Now over Siri?

  • Zaidan Umar

    I wish google and apple combine both of these and just make one amazing personal assistant with all these features!

    • Dan

      I wish money grew on trees 😉

    • Johnathan Jennings

      I dont, because then there wouldn’t be any competition to make the other one better. There would just be one assistant without any competition. Which in the long run could mean that we are missing out on a lot of features that could have been imvented thanks to competition.

      • Jonathan

        contrary to capitalist belief there are some people in the world that don’t need competition to make things better

      • Johnathan Jennings

        Without competition where would we be? Really think about it. Say you own a pizza place. Well Pizza Hut across the street is your #1 competitor. Do you want them to have all of your customers? Or are you going to compete to try to make the most profit you can? In the end it would work out best for the consumers because they are getting the same quality pizza, but for a cheaper price. Do you kinda see what I’m saying? Competition is a good thing.

      • Falk M.

        He didn’t claim competition doesn’t have these aspects of achieving possibly more innovation, he did however negate the statement that without competition there wasn’t any innovation, which quite frankly I think to be a ridiculous assumption as well, so Jonathan (the one you replied to, not you haha) seems to have a point in my humble opinion.

      • Jonathan

        I don’t deny that competition is a good thing. Just that you can achieve good results without competition. Eg the ISS is built and run by a variety of national space agencies (and soon private companies), but you also have the space race resulting in the moon landings. my point is that there seems to be this belief for lack of a better word that competition is the only way. Should we have competition in the court system? And have different companies setting up different legal courts? Or private police forces? (I’m in the UK, so the notion of having a private police force, as in the people who respond to police 911/999 calls, chills me but I know in the US there are private ambulances and private fire services so maybe you have private police forces).
        There are places competition doesn’t work, such as ISPs. Imagine a world where instead of ISPs and cellular providers, there is one NFP organisation funded by Internet companies and users. Where a user pays a certain amount a month and can access the Internet anywhere in the world by any means (satellite, cellular, broadband/fibre) and the speed is continually being upgraded just because its better for everyone. That would be better than the BS ISPs give atm about consumers not wanting 1 Gbps.

        So competition is good but can be bad and you can achieve better by just wanting to be better.

    • David Villamizar

      March Simpson told the Transmorphers to stop fighting, then they enslaved human kind together :/

    • Zaidan Umar

      Or here a better idea, so as not to get rid of competition. How bout a cydia tweak combining both of them. I know its hard, but not impossible!

      • Googiri exists and does exactly that…

      • Zaidan Umar

        That doesnt use the functions, only speech recognition of google

      • I haven’t tried it myself but I’m pretty sure you can say “Siri” followed by anything to route it to Siri else everything goes to Google Now. Was this not what you meant or am I misunderstanding something?

    • jo

      Then get Googiri on cydia.

    • Cameron Chao

      Googiri + NowNow, close enough.

    • Dady King

      I wish too but it dosn’t work that way.. Each and every users are benifited of having more and more competition and more and more new ideas .. In the end it’s totally depend on user which one to choose .. After all the user is benificial

  • Chuck Norris

    I use Siri for location based reminders and Google Now for everything else.

    • kevinbutIer

      You mean voice search, not google now

      • Chuck Norris

        No, I don’t mean voice search, I mean Google Now

      • kevinbutIer

        Well if you’re using your voice, it’s voice search. google now is the cards that show up automatically based on your searches on google. look it up.

      • Chuck Norris

        Please read the last question that was asked.
        “Just out of curiosity, do you prefer Google Now over Siri?”

  • J™

    Hardly use them but Google now can better understand what I am saying

  • Gorgonphone

    great

  • Jonathan

    I wish google and wolfram alpha would join forces. I’d say apple as well, but I’m not really sure what they’d contribute, normally its refinement and “just works” but Google seem to be quite on top of that with Google Now/etc

  • Kurt

    I like both. But with the rate that Google Now is improving I think I will GN better. I just wish GN would speak back more all answers. GN voice is so natural sounding and answers so quickly.