Google announced today an enhancement to the information they provide on restaurants that will be available in results from Google Search and Google Maps. When looking up restaurants, users can currently get information on popular times displayed as a histogram. Google is adding new detail with information about actual wait times and projected wait times to help hungry consumers plan their visits for a bite to eat.
Users will find that directly below the graphed data showing popular times, Google will now show estimated wait times if you were to walk in the door at that very moment. Users will also be able to tap on any of the bars in the chart to get information on the estimated wait time. This information is available if a person decides to scroll left or right through different days if you want to do some longer range planning to “beat the crowds.”
Google says they are using anonymous historical data to build the wait time estimates. This was the same technology and methods and they used to construct the popular times and visit duration estimates. Although not specified, this likely involves some activity and location tracking data being collected by Google from user’s smartphones.
Google did not indicate this is a feature on the way, so presumably it has already started to roll out to users in a phased manner.