Thursday, 24 November 2016

It’s no surprise that Google, who are amongst the distinct leaders of the digital world, have introduced a real-time, live element to their Popular Times feature.

Popular Times was added to Google Maps and Search in 2015, enabling a customer to see when a business premises is typically at its busiest, and vice versa.

The search engine mogul has announced ‘a real-time look at how crowded a place is’, conveniently in time for the annual Christmas commotion across the world.

To help to alleviate the guaranteed chaos of the holiday season, Google are using live data from Google App users to calculate the footfall in places of high customer volume, such as restaurants, bars and shops.

This initiative deciphers the real-time popularity of a certain premises, in order to pre-warn Christmas shoppers, after-work drinkers, weekend diners, cinema-goers – and so on and so forth, of the current status of their designated location.

A red ‘LIVE’ indicator will rate on a scale of ‘busyness’ how busy that particular place is.

Google hopes that the innovation of the feature will reduce the physical traffic to these locations and help customers to make informed choices of where to go, at what time, depending on the live information that they can retrieve easily from a Google search.

The measure is in its infancy, having only been announced yesterday by Jamie Aspinall, the Product Manager at Google HQ. The key point of interest will be to find out whether the data providing the real-time results will equate to the actual physical presence in destinations listed on Google. But the concept is certainly a clever one, to say the least.

Alongside this development, Google have also added two other elements to the Popular Times feature, including the ability to find out the differing opening times of services within larger stores, and a time management feature which helps you to ‘plan your visit’, based on the average time people spend in that location.

In terms of mapping the future, it can safely be said that Google are clear market leaders in this product, with others almost certainly set to follow suit.