Dubbed “crowd control”, the live feature comes on the back of the company’s Popular Times feature, introduced last year, that lets users check how busy a place typically is at different times of the week.
Just in time for the Black Friday swarms, we’re adding a real-time look at how crowded a place is right now, to help you decide where and when to go. Whether you’re rushing to pick up a last minute gift or seeking a lively bar for some festive spirit, check Popular Times for a sneak preview of what to expect when you arrive.
The feature works by crowd-sourcing anonymized location data from other Google users and also feeds in Google searches to analyze how busy a location is at any given moment.
In addition, Google is also introducing a new way of checking how long people typically stay at a particular location, thereby allowing users to plan their itinerary ahead of time and to the minute.
The features augment the apps’ existing location information, which also now includes individual department and service hours for stores, businesses, restaurants. The added times are meant to help users know what time they can, say, use the pharmacy at the local drugstore or supermarket, or to find out what time food delivery begins at a nearby restaurant.
Many retailers offer steep discounts on popular items on Black Friday in order to attract customers, with Apple products frequently being included in these sales.