Google Maps Now Lets You See How Busy Places Are in Real Time

Michele Debczak
iStock / iStock

Few things are more frustrating than showing up to a restaurant during off hours to find a line out the door. Now, Google Maps users can be better equipped to avoid such situations, thanks to a new feature in “Popular Times.”

Before the app’s most recent update, the Popular Times tool consisted of a bar graph charting a business’s average foot traffic levels each hour of the day. As Mashable reports, the graphs now include pink bars indicating how busy a place is in real time. Google Maps has long used data taken from users’ location histories (something you can opt out of) to inform this feature, but this marks the first time it has used live location data for more accurate results.

Screenshot via Google Maps

With the option to see how crowded a business is at any given moment, people will be in the loop if a restaurant is suddenly flooded with a large party or a store closes at an odd time. As was the case before the update, Popular Times also indicates how long patrons tend to stay at a certain location—so you’ll have an idea if it's worth waiting out the rush.

[h/t Mashable]