Google search tweak helps you avoid long lines at local shops

Got a hankering for coffee but can't stand the thought of waiting in line? Google search on mobile can help you figure out if that's likely to happen.

google now voice primary
Credit: Jason Cross

Google search on mobile has a new feature to help you avoid long lines at your favorite local coffee shop, restaurant, or other hangout. Searching for select local businesses now includes a seven-day graph indicating when that business typically has its peak hours. Google says the new feature is available for “millions of places and businesses around the world.”

Finding the new feature is pretty easy. Let’s say it’s 8 P.M. on a Saturday evening and you’re hanging around Park Slope, Brooklyn when hunger hits. Your first thought might be to head over to the closest Five Guys Burgers and Fries location.


How badly do you want that burger?

So you search for “Five Guys Park Slope” and tap on the blue banner with the outlet’s name on your results page. This shows you to the location’s business details. Scroll down and you’ll find the seven-day graph. By default, it shows you the current day, but you can shift between days with a quick flick of your finger.

Back to our imaginary scenario, you’ll see that Five Guys gets pretty busy Saturday evenings. Instead of burgers you might be better off heading to Antonio’s for pizza.

The new popular times feature won’t work for every business you might frequent, but for those times you really don’t want to wait in a long line this addition just might save you some frustration.

The impact on you at home: It appears Google is getting this information based on historical visits from other Android users. The search giant then harnesses all that crowd sourced data to provide a picture of a particular location’s peak hours. How accurate that information will be remains to be seen. 

Subscribe to the Macworld Daily Newsletter