fullsizerenderGoogle has just rolled out a new feature to Google maps that gives people a real-time indication of how busy a venue or shop is, so you can plan your trip beforehand. With a new “Live” tag, Maps now displays a red overlay on top of the historic busy period data showing whether it really is busy or ‘quiet as usual’ at the moment.

I tried it out on the local Sainsbury’s where I went to get my lunch:


It also provides an amount of time that they think people usually spend at the shop. To gather more live data, Google has a little pop up window which asks you if their data is correct:


I checked around a few other smaller shops that I like at the Mall at Cribbs, but it seems that the feature is not able to deal with clusters of shops. For example I looked at Karen Millen at the Mall on Maps and it didn’t have the new feature which was disappointing.

Just as important as shops (if not more) the feature also works on bars, restaurants and pubs! so if you are looking for a lively venue to celebrate in, you can check it out before you go.

This new Maps feature seems to coincide with new data features on adwords which are a drive to help advertisers target local searches for products. For many consumers, smartphones have become a “door-to-the-store” tool, as 76% of people who search for something nearby on their smartphone visit a related business within a day. By using location extensions in adwords you can now see a distance report that will show shop visits based on how far away people are from your shop when they search from their mobile. This enables advertisers to target people withing a small radius of their outlet. You can read more about this here.

Happy Black Friday Shopping Everyone!