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Google Maps can now tell customers how busy your business is in real time

Dominic Powell /

A new feature coming to Google Maps could soon let customers know exactly how busy it is at your business at any time of the day.

Google has unveiled the function of its Google Maps app in the US, which will show shoppers real-time estimations of how busy a store is before they head in. While Google Search and Maps have allowed users to find out the times of the week a business is most popular since last year, this is the first time this information will be available in real time.

Touted on Google’s Keyword blog as a tool to help shoppers “navigate seasonal stress”, the new function may help some shoppers plan out their days. However, business owners will also be able to get further insight into their store’s busiest periods and plan their resources, including staff, accordingly.

The feature also includes details on how long shoppers stay at a particular location before moving on, letting shoppers know how long they can expect to wait for a cup of coffee.

Read more: Google My Business lands Down Under

Google’s latest Maps update also includes a breakdown of service hours for different parts of the same business. This shows different service hours for different departments or services a business may have, including hours that food delivery is available from restaurants.

Google hasn’t revealed how it’s gathered this real-time popularity data, but a 2009 blog post explained how the company was pulling data anonymously from location systems on users’ phones, so the same method could be in action here.

The update is not yet available in Australia but is expected to roll out in the near future.

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Dominic Powell

Dominic is the former features and profiles editor at SmartCompany.

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