Yahoo has rolled out a restaurant Quick App, part of a larger program of making more structured content and transactional capabilities available in SERPs. Examples of Quick Apps are reflected in the screenshot below: Netflix, OpenTable and Sketch-a-search.
These “apps” allow users to do a number of things from within the search results. For example, Sketch-a-search allows users to launch a window and search for restaurants by drawing a custom geographic area on a map.
The Restaurant Comparison Quick App builds a grid display of similar restaurants (or geographically relevant restaurants) and enables users to compare them across a number of criteria. You first search for a restaurant and then select the “compare similar” button (there’s also a “make reservation” button powered by OpenTable).
For a fleeting moment this grid reminded me of Google Squared. However Google Squared is still highly experimental and not very useful, except in a few situations.
I assume that tagging and some sort of back-end taxonomy or classification scheme enables the Quick App here to deliver comparable local restaurants to the one searched for (hence my Pandora analogy). I found the results to be pretty good though somewhat uneven in terms of alternative recommendations. Still it’s useful as a discovery tool.
It’s also especially interesting to see all this structured data and functionality being delivered directly in the SERP. Yahoo is starting to make good on its promise to “innovate around the UI” and search user experience. These Quick Apps are some nice examples of that effort.