One of the most useful features of Google Maps, particularly in the age of social distancing, is the ability to know how busy a restaurant or other business is before you arrive. Soon, Google Maps will be able to show how busy a place is directly in the map view.

Google Maps has long offered busyness indicators, the ability to know roughly how many people are at a particular place, and even compare that to the normal amount of people at that day and time. As it stands today, you need to click or tap on a particular location’s listing on Google Maps to find the busyness indicator.

Today, Google hosted the Search On event, highlighting some of the newest features of Google Search and related products like Assistant and Google Maps. During the event, Prabhakar Raghavan, Google’s head of Search and Assistant, shared that busyness indicators would soon be visible directly on the map.

As can be seen in a simulated demo, Google Maps will put indicators like “Busier than usual” and “As busy as it gets” under location names. This should help make it easy to see what places to perhaps avoid when trying to maintain appropriate social distancing, or even just to get seated at a table faster. Additionally, this can be helpful to get an idea of how busy a broader area is, rather than just the narrow view of individual places.

Similarly, Google Maps on Android and iOS will be able to show how busy a place is when you’re navigating to that location. As for when these new locations for Google Maps busyness indicators will arrive, the only timeline Google provided was “soon.”

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Kyle Bradshaw

Kyle is an author and researcher for 9to5Google, with special interests in Made by Google products, Fuchsia, and Stadia.

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