Google’s newest feature is a queue killer
It’s a point of national pride that the British love a good queue, but the need to wait in line for a coffee may soon be a thing of the past thanks to Google.
The search-engine giant has unveiled a handy new feature for the location cards of specific businesses – a “popular time” section that shows when places are likely to be at their busiest.
To find “popular times” of a business, simply search for information on a restaurant, café or gym, bring up its Google business card and scroll down to the “more about” tab the bottom of the card. Here you’ll find a panel of blue charts that show how popular the business is on an hour-by-hour basis, which can be swiped through for every day of the week.
The company say that “millions” of places across the world are so far included, although a quick search for places in London didn’t bring up anything. The company is reportedly still in the process of rolling out the feature so expect it to start working soon.
Google isn’t entirely clear where the data comes from, but has pointed to a blog post from 2009 that explains how it’s able to form traffic data from location tracking on Google Maps. It would seem that this same technology is being used to build up a history of visits for each business.
It will be interesting to see if the feature actually ends up doing the opposite of what it’s intended to. If it becomes popular, people will begin to avoid the busiest times and therefore skew the data. The solution to this would be to take more regular charts – a sort of real-world Google Analytics – although whether or not this is practical remains to be seen.
The feature is allegedly available now on Google’s Android app and from Google searches within Chrome and Safari on iOS.