Google Search, Maps give users wait times for restaurants

Above Popular Times

Above Popular Times

Average wait times for about 1 million restaurants are coming to search results on Tuesday. The information will be added to the Google Maps app in the near future. A chart in it lists the busiest times at the restaurant while another click shows an estimated wait at a specific time. Maybe you get a half-hour lunch break and the local sandwich counter has a line that takes 20 minutes to navigate.

For a while now, Google Search has displayed a "popular times" widget for various businesses which could give a vague idea of whether you'd have to wait for a table at a restaurant, or if that one bar will be so crowded you won't be able to breathe.

Wait times start going live today on desktop and mobile. It will then come to Google Maps to Android, at which point it will expand to include grocery stores, the company says.

While the listed wait times are not calculated in real-time - this would nearly certainly raise privacy issues - Google says that a fairly accurate estimate can be displayed using "anonymized historical data" which works in much the same way as the calculation to determine busy times for venues. Not only will it tell you which times are most popular among visitors and your estimated wait time for a table, but it will also tell you how long people typically spend at the business you're visiting.

Will you be booking a fancy night out using the new feature?

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