Google Can Tell You If Your Favorite Bar Is Crowded In Real Time

By Mike Pomranz |

John Rensten

Google Maps already contains an insane amount of stuff. Gone are the days of the app simply getting you to and fro. Now you can book a reservation or order delivery. Google Maps even uses your location data to remind you if you’ve been somewhere before. And now, in a cool new feature for the agoraphobic, the app can tell you how busy places are in real time – helpful stuff if you’re like me and always looking to drink alone!

Last year, the tech giant sought to give patrons a glimpse into how busy establishments were with the addition of “popular times,” a feature that provides a day-by-day and hour-by-hour breakdown predicting crowds at places like restaurants, bars or shops. Now, Google announced it will be updating that info in real time – using anonymous location data to estimate exactly how many people are hanging out somewhere at any given moment. Yes, that means Google Maps can now give you a heads-up on what the scene is like at the club. Um, any idea what kind of music they’re playing, Google?

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According to ZDNet, Google is billing the new feature, which started rolling out for some spots on Monday, as a great way to deal with potential holiday shopping crowds. But holiday shopping crowds are kind of inevitable – they are also more of a seasonal affliction. From a practical standpoint, the new feature seems tailor made to help guide people worried about long waits at restaurant or who are debating a quiet drink versus a wild night out. To help with these decisions, the new Google Maps update also will start to estimate the amount of time people spend in one place – info featured with a little timer icon below the “popular times” info.

Of course, while all this additional info is supposed to be helpful, it actually leaves a lot of number crunching. Hopefully in the near future, Google can just tell us whether we should go somewhere or not. I don’t like to think Google: I want answers! Where should I eat? What should I order? CAN YOU JUST EAT IT FOR ME, GOOGLE?!

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