Google adds real-time data to its Popular Times tool in Search and Maps

You can now check whether a shop, bar or restaurant is busy right at this very moment with Google’s new real-time view.

There are few other tweaks and improvements to aid the search experience too, as outlined below. Most of them designed to keep you out of the cold and away from Black Friday frenzy for as long as possible.

Crowd control

Popular Times has been a feature in Google Search and Maps since last year. It’s a way of seeing what time and day during the week a business is typically busy.

But now, Google is adding real-time data to this functionality so you can see whether it’s worth leaving the house or not right now.

Perfect timing for this coming Black Friday.

Here’s a sneak preview of how it will look…


Time management

Google has also added a feature where you can check to see how long people typically stay at any given location. This is particularly useful to those of you who wish to keep their fun on a strict itinerary.

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Department and service hours

And finally, Google has improved its ‘operating hours’ features for businesses, service providers and restaurants, within larger premises.

More often than not, businesses have multiple opening hours for different departments and services. Google will now tell you what time is best to visit the pharmacy, when takeout begins at a local restaurant or when a particular concession stand opens and closes.


Now that the Penguin algorithm has been updated with real-time fixes for penalties and RankBrain is processing 450m brand new and unique search terms every day, Google Search is inching ever closer to providing a fully real-time experience across every tool and function.

To the user this means unprecedented access to up-to-the-minute information. To the marketer, this means they have to work even harder to nail local search.

The roll-out of these features has already begun. Have a peaceful Black Friday.

Christopher Ratcliff is the editor of Methods Unsound and former editor of SEW

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