Google Maps: Now it shows crowds in real time to help you dodge Black Friday hordes

Google's latest Maps update aims to help people plan outings and avoid crowds.


Google Maps now offers a real-time view of crowds at specific locations.

Image: Google

Google Maps not only tells you when a place is typically crowded, but also how busy it is right now.

Google's Popular Times feature in Search and Maps arrived last year to show how crowded cafes, bars, and shops are, based on historical visits. As of Monday, Search and Maps goes a step further with live updates that offer a real-time estimate of how crowded a place is.

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Google thinks the live-preview feature will help people navigate their way around the shopping hordes on Black Friday and over the holiday season, as well as get a feel for what kind of crowds to expect when visiting bars and restaurants.

Even if avoiding crowds is impossible, live updates should be better at reflecting unusual peaks over busy shopping periods.

Location summaries in Search and Maps now also tell you how long visitors typically stay at a place. The idea is that if you know that people generally spend half an hour at a cafe, you could plan a quick detour there on the way to a dinner reservation without running late.

Finally, not all services or departments within businesses have the same operating hours. Opening hours in Google Maps can now display the unique hours for these different services or departments within stores, businesses, and restaurants.

It can, for example, tell you food delivery times for a local restaurant, opening hours for the pharmacy within a drugstore or supermarket, or service hours at the auto store.

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