How Your Phone Can Reveal All Your Food's Secrets Right There in the Grocery Store

protein bananaWe all know how to look up calorie counts -- that is, as long as it's written on the back of a food package. But what about when you're eating out? And what about all the foods in the grocery store that don't come in packages? Wouldn't you just love to just turn to someone and ask, "how many calories does a chicken leg have?" Or, "does iceberg lettuce have any nutritional value at all?"

Well, Google's new answer to these pressing questions is to let you literally ask them, out loud, to your phone, using the nutritional info in its Search app. Just whip out your smartphone, click on the mike, and say, "how many calories in a serving of lasagna?" Up pops the answer via search results.


Google says they're getting info "that wasn't easily accessible" and builds on what they call their "Knowledge Graph," which sounds like some kind of Big Brother mega info monster. Enter The Matrix! But I tried it out, asking for info on everything I've eaten in the last 24 hours. EVEN the homemade chicken and broccoli stir fry. Google knows. It's a little bit creepy. 

Creepy and yet handy. But... how is this different from asking Siri?  Supposedly, Google's search app is pulling from more obscure areas of the interwebs, which means its info is more complete that Siri's... theoretically. But I think for most of us, either app will work just fine.

So fine, now we have all this nutritional info at our fingertips. All we have to do is click a button and ask, and the magic tech wizards will tell us everything we need to know about our food. Here's what I'm wondering, though. How much do we really know? Are people really making decisions about what to eat based on things like calorie counts, grams of fat, sugar, and vitamins? 

I'm not. I never count calories. I just try to eat a lot of fresh vegetables, a balance of everything else, and a minimum of junk. For me, food is about tastes and feeling fed -- not numbers. But that's just me. For calorie counters this might be the latest tool that helps you make food decisions right when you need to.

Would you use the Google nutritional search on your smartphone?



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