Yahoo is introducing a useful new capability in search and Yahoo Local: the ability to search for specific meals or menu items and find them at local bars and restaurants. Yahoo says it’s extracting unstructured data from restaurant menus online and making them searchable:
By using Yahoo!’s search science to extract structured content – in this case, menu items – from a bunch of different unstructured web pages and matching them to specific restaurants, Yahoo! Search now returns results of restaurants near you that serve the dish you crave when you enter the name of that dish in our search box.
A search for “BLT” in San Francisco (as in bacon, lettuce and tomato) for example gets you a list of places that offer the sandwich:
This is novel and clearly useful — and trying to make good on Yahoo’s recent philosophy of a “Web of Objects” — but it also raises the interesting question of how Yahoo might develop and expand this capability beyond local menu items to data in other categories (local and non-local), such as products.
This feature has fairly self-evident, additional value in mobile search results as well.