Baidu’s food app Nuomi is like a supercharged, AI-enabled Yelp

baidu nuomi review food composition tips
Skyler Burt/WeEatTogether
Let’s be honest — we all consider ourselves amateur food critics, but when it comes to reviewing restaurants, there’s a lot to consider. How many stars do you give the little cafe with the awesome homemade pappardelle but bland bouillabaisse? What’s to be done if the appetizer and entree taste like they’ve been prepared on two different planets? Baidu has an answer — but only if you live in China. Later this year, the Chinese search engine will roll out a change to its Nuomi app that lets people review not only restaurants, but individual dishes as well.

This will be particularly useful in China, where traditional meals consist of numerous family-style offerings. And now, to ensure that the people are leaving the most accurate reviews possible, Nuomi will allow users to use voice dictation to muse aloud about their dining experience in real time. It’s an improvement to an already impressive app — because it’s so widely used in China, when you upload a food photo to Nuomi’s enormous database, it’ll automatically identify both the dish in question and the restaurant from whence it came.

“I would say 90 percent of the dishes I think we are very well able to recognize,” Yuanqing Lin, director of Baidu’s Institute of Deep Learning in Beijing, told VentureBeat. And it’s all thanks to deep learning, in which both Baidu and Nuomi have now taken a serious interest, alongside American tech giants like Facebook, Google, and Apple. And because deep learning and its supporting artificial intelligence systems get better as more people use them, Baidu is counting on its impressive user numbers (260 million a month) to continue improving its services.

So if you’re looking for some of the best (and smartest) reviews of all the food floating around China for your next trip overseas, you may want to download Nuomi, and eat as the locals do.

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