Can Google and Bing search engines recommend great recipes?

When you search for recipes using search engines, how do they they select which ones you’ll see?

The New York Times gives a fun ride across how search engines rank recipes, Can Recipe Search Engines Make You a Better Cook?. Some clips:

The newer [search engine] models try to evaluate recipes and rank them by quality according to ever-changing, supposedly highly nuanced criteria, including the number of reviews, links and photographs each recipe has, as well as its popularity.

Really give that article a read. It’s fascinating how search engines take many elements into consideration when ranking recipes. But what about the experts? Do foodies use search engines to discover recipes? The New York Times points out:

Not surprisingly, Web-fluent cooks have come up with their own search strategies.

Some of the methods foodies use:

  • Solid, old-media sources like Bon Appétit magazine
  • Niche blogs
  • Longer recipes
  • Photos by done by a food stylist are a turn-off

Funny how great photos are a turn off. I suppose that’s because the beautiful photo might be a stock photo and not picture the item in the recipe. It’s too bad that excellent photos are mistrusted.

With all these things to consider when looking for recipes, the New York Times concludes:

Ultimately, searching for the “best” recipe online is still like Internet dating — you might well stumble upon a great match, but if you do, it won’t be because the search engine knows what you like.

This sounds much like my content reading approach with RSS feeds instead of Facebook’s picking what I see. With RSS I am in control to select exactly the sources I want to see.

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