Google Maps Can Tell You Right Now How Crowded a Restaurant Is

Jan 26, 2017

If you want to know how many people are crowding your favorite restaurant as you're heading over, Google Maps has you covered with a new update.

The App's Popular Times feature has been around since 2015, culling data from users who've opted in to Google's location history feature. The tool shows how busy or empty a business is each hour by displaying a bar graph in search results.

But the feature used historical data, so Google Maps couldn’t account for special circumstances, like when a loud birthday party took over half a restaurant. Google added real time data to the web version of Maps in November, according to Digital Trends, and now you can get the update on your phone.

With the most recent iOS update released Thursday (version 4.27.0), users will see a pink “Live” badge above the graph for a restaurant—or bar, grocery store, or other business—followed by a description such as “not too busy” or “a little busy.” There’s also a live pink bar over the correct hour to indicate the fullness of the store.

As before, users can also see an estimate of how long people usually spend at a given restaurant, so these combined features should help predict traffic flow.

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