Data Enables Google Search To Serve Estimated Restaurant Wait Times


This particular feature has been a nice addition for Google Search, and with the inclusion of restaurants should go a long way to helping visitors. But on Tuesday, Google announced in a blog post that it will calculate and display wait times at sit-down restaurants so that you can know which place will seat you immediately and which one will have you standing around getting more and more annoyed until you wish you'd just warmed up those Chinese leftovers.

The fact that a restaurant is busy at 3PM on a Thursday afternoon doesn't necessarily mean you'll have to wait ages for service - there may be more staff working, for instance.

Wait times start going live today on desktop and mobile. The feature will be deployed in Google Maps soon, too.

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Google will now show those searching for a restaurant the wait times of almost one million sit-down restaurants worldwide that allow walk-ins.

To see wait times, search a restaurant on Google, and scroll down to the Popular Times section of the page, which will show the estimated wait time at that moment.

Wait times are calculated based on "anonymized historical data" pulled from Google users who have opted into Google's (somewhat creepy) smartphone location history program. It will then come to Google Maps to Android, at which point it will expand to include grocery stores, the company says. Moreover, summaries of each day's wait times can be pulled up by scrolling through the results. This will be rolling out as part of the popular times feature, which has been available in Maps and Search for quite some time.