Google Is Adding Wait Times For Restaurants Because It Follows You Everywhere
Google does a lot of
things that often
to benefit Google more than users. But, dear reader, I have to say that I hate waiting in line so much that the site's
For a while now, Google
Of course, wait times aren't just an issue at fine dining establishments. Maybe you get a half-hour lunch break and the local sandwich counter has a line that takes 20 minutes to navigate. And this feature could theoretically be applied to the Apple store or the Jiffy Lube. For now, Google is only talking about getting tables at restaurants, but a support page suggests that other business types, like grocery stores, will be included in the future. From Google's announcement:
To see wait times for nearly a million sit-down restaurants around the world that allow walk-ins, just search for the restaurant on Google, open the business listing, and scroll down to the Popular Times section. There you'll see the estimated wait time at that very moment. And by tapping on any of the hour bars, you'll see the estimated wait for that time period. You can even scroll left and right to see a summary of each day's wait times below the hour bars-so you can plan ahead to beat the crowds.
In this modern age, it seems like almost all technological advances have a privacy trade-off. Like the popular times feature, Google is algorithmically calculating its estimates based on data gathered from the millions of people who've enabled location tracking on their phones. Yes, it's an opt-in feature, and yes, you've probably opted-in, because it makes Maps and Search a lot more useful.
Adding wait times is a minor feature upgrade that'll at least make my life a little more convenient. But it'll be interesting to see if it has ripple effects. Will people start avoiding the places with long wait times and end up raising the waits at the convenient spots that weren't so popular? Just a small algorithmic tweak could change the dynamic of a whole neighborhood.