Avoid the crowd
In their ongoing and so far successful effort to involve themselves in a pleasant, helpful fashion in every single activity of your digitally-enabled day, Google has added a new feature called Popular Times to Search and Maps.
What does it do?
Popular Times does precisely what it says on the nonexistent box: tell you how busy a given place is likely to be at any time of day. And any day of the week. Oh, and if you’re curious about a place that provides multiple services with different time frames, say how long the pharmacy stays open at your favorite grocery, or when the kitchen closes at the gastropub down the street but you can still grab a pint? Got you covered on that, too.
Not enough? OK, Popular Times says, rolling up its sleeves. It also runs service metrics to help you plan your visit. My local Kroger? “People typically spend 20 mins here,” I am helpfully informed. Dinner at my favorite Mexican joint tonight? Not a bad idea. Looks like they’re pretty chill on Wednesdays – they get their peak crowds Sunday afternoon. Turns out my neighborhood is big on post-church fajitas. Who knew?
But I tease because I love. Popular Times is a fantastic value add for Google services in general, and a straight-up blessing from your deity of choice for the holidays. I know you don’t need to Google anything to know Black Friday morning at Walmart or Target will be a nightmare consumer mosh pit that will have you seriously reconsidering the merits of Communism before you make checkout.
But what about Saturday, or Tuesday afternoon? When is it worth spending your lunch at your favorite big-box instead of Chipotle, getting a month’s worth of shopping done in half an hour because this is when the lines aren’t?
Three cheers for Google
As is their wont, Google’s got you covered. They may or may not be taking over the world in the process, but for real, if it means never again having to stand in line long enough to get three stars in an Angry Birds level – I have three stars in every Angry Birds level, no one over eight should have three stars in every Angry Birds level, that’s how much I hate standing in line – I’m up for the Googleocracy.