That Google menus experiment we told you about a couple weeks ago?
It’s now official. But it’s only available in the U.S. at the moment.
Google announced that it’s now showing restaurant menus as a OneBox-style answer at the top of its search results. It seems to be primarily triggered by searches that involve both the restaurant name and the word “menu,” although Google’s example involves a query that starts with “show me the menu for….”
The menu OneBox shows multiple food options and is divided into different categories, depending on how the individual restaurants (or chains) organize their menu. You’ll typically see tabs such as lunch, dinner, entreés, sandwiches and the like.
There’s actually more that we don’t know about the menus than we do. For example:
- Where is Google getting the menu details? It seems to be from sites like AllMenus.com and Gayot.com, but there’s no official list.
- Has Google made a deal with its sources to show the menus, or is it just scraping that information?
- What should a restaurant do if it wants its menu showing like this?
- What if it doesn’t want its menu showing this way for some reason? (It’s outdated, for example.)
- How often will Google be updating the menu information?
We’ve put some of these questions to our contacts at Google, but since it’s Friday evening, we may not get a reply immediately.
Postscript: A Google spokesperson told us the data for these menus come from a 3rd party data provider. Here is Google’s statement:
We get all of our menu data from a partner, similarly to how we show other types of answers, like weather. As our data comes from a 3rd party provider, we cannot add menus for individual restaurants directly, but we are constantly working to expand our database of menus and restaurants.