Google adds waiting times for a million restaurants

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Lines for the latest hot restaurants have become a common sight in big cities – and Google could mean you no longer wait in vain.

A new wait times feature coming to Google Search and Maps will soon allow restaurant-goers to better plan their visits.

The feature lists approximate wait times at different times of the day, allowing people to plan ahead and avoid waiting in line entirely. 

A new wait times feature coming to Google Search and Maps will soon allow restaurant-goers to better plan their visits. Picture are people lining up to get into the Carnegie Deli, December 30, 2016 in NYC. The Deli closed on the 30th, after 79 years of service 

The new feature allows people to see the wait times for close to one million sit-down restaurants around the world that allow walk-ins. 

In order to access the feature, just search for the restaurant on Google, open the restaurant listing and scroll down to the Popular Times section. 

There you can see the estimated wait time at the present time, and by tapping on any of the hour bars, you can see the estimated wait time for that time period. 

You can also scroll left and right to see a summary of each day’s wait times below the hour bars to plan ahead. 

According to Google, wait time estimates are based on anonymized historical data, similar to how it computes the Popular Times and Visit Duration features, which tell people when a restaurant or bar is busiest, and how much time people tend to spend there.  

More specifically, Google uses aggregated and anonymized data from users who have opted in to Google Location History. 

As such, the Popular Times, Wait Times, and Visit Duration features are shown for a business if it gets enough visits from users. 

Users can’t manually add this information to their location, and it appears only if Google has enough visit data for the business.  

To compute the Popular Times and Visit Duration features, which tell people when a restaurant or bar is busiest, and how much time people tend to spend there, Google uses aggregated and anonymized data from users who have opted in to Google Location History.

As such, the Popular Times, Wait Times, and Visit Duration features are shown for a business if it gets enough visits from users. 

Users can’t manually add this information to their location, and it appears only if Google has enough visit data for the business.  

 

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