Google's cooking up something rather cool with their Universal Search integration. I use cooking up in duality because Google's displaying something new when it displays results for recipe searches. Hattip to Dave Brown who first picked this up on Sunday.
Being someone who loves to cook and likes to find new things to try, I decided to do a little further digging. I wanted to know what triggered the recipe search pull downs, what other features there were and where Google pulled the information from. I found a lot of different features and it's really neat if you love to find new recipes to try out.
Dave first looked at salads, I then took that further to see what made
the new pull downs for recipes searches appear. I agree with Dave that
this is a great way to display results and let you filter down if what you first received in the results wasn't what you were looking for.
But Google - you're missing the boat here! I type in "Key Lime Pie Recipes", "Spaghetti Sauce Recipes" or "Sesame Chicken Recipe" and the drop downs don't appear. It looks like the recipe drop down boxes only appear with general searches like "bread recipes", "chicken soup recipes" or "pasta salad".
What's really cool about the recipe search, once you click into it, you can refine your search by "servings", "course", "main ingredient" or "keywords". In the contextual search you can refine the search by "cuisine", as well, choosing from cuisines like "American", "Mexican", "Italian", etc. The recipe search also has a great way of displaying the results.
When you first see your results it's listed in a list form with some of the results showing pictures. There's a set of links to choose between "grid view" and "list view". The grid view gives you a nice layout of pictures that are with the recipes and when you mouse over them they "pop" out with more information.
Although I couldn't find any documentation on how the recipe search is powered, I believe a long time ago I read that it was powered through Google Base (formerly Froogle). Basically you upload your recipe's information like you would a product's information to Google Base (which powers Google Product Search). Google's even put a "Post an Item" at the top of the search that leads into Google Base, which is great for one time recipes. If you have more than one, it's probably a better idea to put a feed together and submit it.
Prior to the implementation of "Universal Search" by Google, recipe search was a piece of a puzzle that was hardly ever used. With this new integration, it's going to offer a new "niche" for website owners to try to own. It will definitely help to boost traffic from recipe searchers, so get to cooking up those recipe feeds!