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How to check how busy the store is right now in Google Maps

If you need to know about the hours of activity in a certain place, the best solution is to check this information on Google Maps.

How to know when the store is busy in Google Maps

You probably already know that in the age of pandemics you shouldn’t be in a crowded and closed space. Google Maps, even before the deadly virus situation, set up a function called “POPULAR HOURS”. This function allows you to view a graph with information about each hour and day of the week. Information about what time is the most frequented store, restaurant, or entertainment establishment.

This format greatly facilitates your time management and generally helps you to avoid situations where you need to stand in a queue for a long time, etc.

Below you will see how easy it’s to find this option and how to manage it.

How to check on store’s activity hours

In general, if you’re wondering how this function works, here’s the answer to that question. How does Google know at what time and where exactly an activity takes place?

So, do you know about such a feature as geolocation on your smartphone or device? If you have it enabled, then your device is tracked via GPS, and this data is transmitted to Google. It’s through this information that Google collects a report and immediately informs users about the number of people with the geolocation enabled in a certain place.

If the specific location is near a business center or subway, or other places where a constant flow of people is the norm, then the information may not always be correct, as Google may perceive people nearby as visitors, for example, in a nearby cafe near the business center.

In addition, information is collected when people choose to turn on Google Location History on their phones. Using this data, Google estimates how busy a place is at a given moment.

Visit data may include:

  • Popular times graph: This graph shows how busy your location typically is during different times of the day. Popular times are based on average popularity over the last few months. Popularity for any given hour is shown relative to the typical peak popularity for the business for the week. For example, in the image below, 8 PM–9 PM on Saturday is one of the more popular times of the week for this business. 
  • Live visit data: This data shows how active your location is right now. Live visit data is updated in real time and overlaid on the popular times graph. For example, in the image below, the highlighted section of the graph represents how active the location is right now compared to its usual level of activity.
  • Visit duration: This data shows how much time customers typically spend at your location. Visit duration estimates are based on patterns of customer visits over the last several weeks.
  • Wait time estimates: This data shows how long a customer would have to wait before they receive service during different times of the day. It also shows the peak wait time for each day of the week. The displayed wait time is based on patterns of customer visits over the last several weeks. Wait time estimation differs for different business types. For instance, a sit-down restaurant’s wait time reflects how long customers wait before they’re seated.

Now, here’s the guide on how to check on a place’s activity via Google Maps:

  • You can find this information on the Google Maps website in your browser or in the Google Maps app for iPhone, iPad, and Android. Search for the name of a store, restaurant, business or other location – it even works for parks
  • Click or tap on the name of the place to see more information about it. Look for the “Popular Times” graphic on the dashboard – you may need to scroll down to see it
  • Look for a “Live” time that tells you how busy a business is right now
  • You can also click on the day of the week name and select another day of the week to see when the location tends to be the busiest. Do more people shop on Wednesday or Sunday? Is the store less busy early in the morning or late at night? The chart will tell you
  • It’s important to note that this historical data may not be as predictive as usual right now. Buying patterns (and store hours) have changed. However, the Live data should be useful – if it says a place is busy right now, you can wait until Google says the place is less busy to go there
  • This information isn’t available for all locations. It won’t be available for some locations that don’t “get enough hits” from people who’ve turned on Google Location History, according to Google

Now you know more about how the Popular Hours work and how to use them in your time management. With this option, you can make plans much more clearly and understand what you can expect in a certain place.

In general, you should understand that the more popular the place you want to visit – the more likely there will be more information – comments, likes, or dislikes. That isn’t only information about the activity of the place is available, but also what is the quality of the place, its rating, information about the place itself, etc.

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