Google Search and Google Maps‘ latest feature could be a boon to Black Friday shoppers, (and yes, Thanksgiving Day shoppers, SIGH!), as the new feature offers a real time look at how crowded a store currently is.
First up: crowd control. Since introducing the Popular Times feature in Google Search and Maps last year, you’ve been able to check how busy a place typically is at different times of the week. Just in time for the Black Friday swarms, we’re adding a real-time look at how crowded a place is right now, to help you decide where and when to go. Whether you’re rushing to pick up a last minute gift or seeking a lively bar for some festive spirit, check Popular Times for a sneak preview of what to expect when you arrive.
The new feature uses crowd-sourced anonymized location data collected from Google users, as well as feeds in Google searches to estimate how busy a location is at that moment. Also debuting is a new way of checking how long people stay at a location, which could help users decide when to go to a certain location.
New information also includes department and service hours for individual businesses. This is especially handy when individual departments, such as the Pharmacy, close two hours before the actual store does. (I’m looking at you, Sam’s Club! – Ed.)
Google Maps is free for iOS devices, and is available through the App Store. [GET IT HERE]