Google Wants to Help You Avoid Long Restaurant Lines

November 7, 2017, 7:46 PM UTC

Google wants to help you avoid long lines at popular restaurants.

The search giant debuted a new tool on Tuesday that lets people see the wait times at nearby restaurants.

For example, searching for San Francisco restaurant Michael Mina using a smartphone in Google (GOOG) search or Google Maps brings up a section titled “Popular times” below the usual restaurant reviews. A chart in it lists the busiest times at the restaurant while another click shows an estimated wait at a specific time.

People can also check to see wait times for other days in the week.

Google said it calculates its waiting time estimates “based on anonymized historical data.” This anonymized data is taken from people who agree to be tracked via the Google Location History feature that the company uses to target people with better recommendations based on places they have visited.

Online business listing company Yelp (YELP) also has a similar restaurant wait-time feature that it inherited through its $40 million acquisition of online reservation company NoWait in March.

Google did not say whether the restaurant wait feature is available nationally or in a limited number of cities. The company said that the service includes “all your favorite restaurants,” but it did not specify what that means. The company said the new feature is “rolling out soon” and that it would first debut in Google Search followed by Google Maps.

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