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Grocery shopping app Ziplist has launched new features for discovering and sharing dishes that expand its capabilities as a recipe box.
Because the 2-year-old startup launched with a focus on shopping lists, where people can save ingredients from recipes to their lists and clear them after theyve shopped, CEO Geoff Allen thinks Ziplist has an advantage over other recipe search engines.
Were in a really unique position because we have what people actually do, he says. Do they save it, and do they make it, and if so, how often do they make it?
Ziplist is using this information for a personalized recipe search. Search results on the site now take into account a users saved recipes, groceries on their lists, and other factors such as what publications their recipes come from.
About 1,200 food blogs have downloaded a Ziplist plugin that helps format recipes for SEO and, of course, easy saving to ZipList. Another 100 content partners including Martha Stewart (an investor) and The Food Network help populate Ziplists recipe database, and more than 30 have installed Ziplist-powered recipe boxes on their own sites.
In addition to the personalized recommendation feature, Ziplist is also adding an easy sharing feature it calls ZipThis. It provides a short URL, SMS Shortcode and embed code for every recipe. More interestingly, it generates a QR code that can be used to share recipes offline.
Allen imagines this will be useful for handing out back-to-school supply lists or a recipe at a bake sale. Im not completely convinced that copying the QR code into a Word Doc that only people with smartphones will be able to access is significantly easier than typing the recipe into a text editor, but its an original idea. It will be interesting to see if it catches on. If not, users can still share recipes using the other options.
ZipList is not alone in its desire to become a universal recipe box. KeepRecipes, which launched last week, is also helping people bring recipes from across the web. It uses an Instapaper-type bookmarklet where Ziplist has partners embed a button to save recipes from the site in addition to a browser clipper, but their business models are greater differentiators. KeepRecipes plans to sell premium recipes to its users, where Ziplist offers targeted coupons.
Ziplist also has some competition in its pursuit of the truly personalized recipe recommendation. Both Foodily and Gojee are aiming for the same goal.
Various recipe startups have focused on beautiful photos, blogger content, friend-to-friend recommendations or, in the case of Ziplist, grocery store lists in the competition to retain recipe browsers attention. Its hard to say how that battle will play out, but its a great time to be a cook.
Image courtesy of iStockphoto, mediaphotos
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