live-ptindevice-sf_hlgrny7It’s a fact of life that no one likes long queues or busy shops, especially at Christmas. But help is at hand with some vital, and some might say, much needed updates to Google Search and Maps.Google’s Jamie Aspinall announced in a blog post on 21st November that the new features will come just in time for the infamous Black Friday.

Last year Google introduced Popular Times to their Search and Maps app, which shows on average how busy a store is expected to be. Well now Google has gone one better!

According to Jamie, the maps feature is being released at the perfect time right before “the Black Friday swarms”. The feature will help shoppers looking for a bargain on the big day as Google adds “a real-time look at how crowded a place is right now, to help you decide where and when to go”.

Yep, that’s right! You can now check in real-time how busy a store is before you visit. This is apparently possible “by crowd-sourcing anonymised location data from other Google users and also feeds in Google searches to analyse how busy a location is at any given moment” according to Mac Rumours.

Additionally, Google are even including data on how long people typically spend at this location so you can fine tune your shopping time to home time ratio to pinpoint precision.

Included in the update is a much welcomed change in the way Google displays opening times for stores and departments. Jamie Aspinall explains that you’ll now know “when food delivery begins at a nearby restaurant…, and what the service hours are at the auto dealership”.

With Google and our smartphones capturing so much anonymised data on our locations and search terms, it’s about time Google puts this to good use for the user!


Will you use the new features to avoid the crowds? Let us know in the comments.

Phil is the Digital Account Manager for Team Organic. With a background in business banking and a passion for Social Media he takes his job seriously with a cheeky smile on his face!