Want To Know How Crowded The Bar Is? Check Google Maps
With its latest update, Google furthers its commitment to integrating real-time information into Maps.
With its most recent update, Google Maps has added a new element to its “Popular Times” feature — allowing users to see not only how busy an establishment they’re preparing to visit usually is, but how crowded it actually is in real-time.
With the update, a user checking the status of a particular bar or eatery will see a pink bar indicating how busy it is at the moment — overlaid on the Popular Times bar graph (see below).
Popular Times has existed for a while, and it simply shows how busy the venue is on average, using location data from opted-in users from “the last several weeks,” Mashable reported when the update first surfaced. But now, users will have more accurate real-time information that can help them decide if they want to visit a place — or not.
The update isn’t a monumental change on its face. Rather, its a continuation of Google’s commitment to integrating progressively more real-time information into Maps — indicating an understanding of consumers’ desires for relevant information on-demand.
In fact, around the same time, Google Maps also introduced a new parking difficulty icon, showing users planning a trip when parking around their destination would be limited or compromised. And shortly before that, it updated its Uber/Lyft ride hailing integration — another move suggesting the importance of building a seamless mapping experience that allows users to empower diverse aspects of their daily lives beyond simple navigation.
As GeoMarketing‘s David Kaplan wrote at that time, this all fits into Google’s larger goal of ensuring that its apps and services directly connect. With the “map wars” still hot and more customers looking to location services than ever before, it appears to be a smart strategy.